Eviction - 29/04/22
A period of relative calm in the camp of Grande-Synthe came to an abrupt end yesterday morning. In the early hours the French authorities entered the camp and carried out a full scale eviction of the living sites.
Residents reported being woken up abruptly at around 6am and ordered to evacuate. HRO (Human Rights Observers) were present to witness, challenge and document the systematic destruction of people shelters.
On the same day the Nationality and Borders bill was pushed through in the UK, further threatening people’s right to claim asylum; we witnessed once again, the aftermath of hostile, violent and further traumatising state behaviours in Northern France.
Once the police and privately contracted cleaning teams had left, and people were allowed to return to the perimeter, we responded to provide the community with replacement tents and blankets. Our usual clothing distribution, mobile charging and tea station went ahead as well.
The conversations around our vehicles were, as always, full of confusion. We heard many questions of “why?”, to which we have few answers. We heard the hurt, the upset, the discouragement but also, and perhaps most heartbreakingly, the resignation. “What can we do? They are the government and we have no power”.
Days like yesterday anger us and make us stronger in our resolve.
In solidarity and in defiance, we continue to oppose every punishing act of state violence that further criminalises and oppresses those seeking refuge, wherever they may be.