• Three people began a hunger strike on Monday in support of migrants from Calais.

  • A priest and two associative activists demand in particular an end to the dismantling of camps during the winter period.

  • The strikers wanted radical, but not violent, action to make themselves heard.

A priest and two activists have announced that they are starting a hunger strike in Calais to demand an end to the dismantling of migrant camps during the winter period.

They also want to open a "dialogue" with the State on the treatment of exiles.

“There is a very clear increase in the mistreatment of exiles.

It is a way for us to say that it should stop, ”explained Philippe Demeestère, chaplain of the Catholic Help for Pas-de-Calais.

In the company of the two activists, this 72-year-old Jesuit priest, who has lived in Calais since 2016, began a strike on Monday afternoon in Saint-Pierre church.

A winter break including for migrant camps

The man of the Church said he witnessed "daily forms of psychological and physical violence": "evictions every 48 hours or even daily, confiscation and destruction of personal effects, multiplication of orders against the distribution of food and water, humiliations, assault and battery on the part of the police… ”, he lists in a press release.

The initiative aims to obtain an end to the evictions and dismantling during the winter period, the confiscation of tents and the personal effects of migrants and the "opening of a dialogue between public authorities and associations".

"It's already a victory to have come together for this cause as a French".

If the authorities turn a deaf ear, "we will find other ways to show that we are together for this cause," adds Philippe Demeestère.

Faced with the "radicalization of the State", "we wanted to take a radical action also but not violent, hoping to be heard," also confided to AFP Anaïs, a 35-year-old activist.

The idea is "to restore the dialogue" which has disappeared in favor of "constant repression", adds Ludovic, 38 years old.

The action was launched a few days after the publication of a report by the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW), according to which the state subjects migrants to "daily humiliation and harassment" in Calais and its surroundings.

According to the town hall and associations, around 1,500 migrants are in Calais while waiting to be able to cross illegally into Great Britain.


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  • Priest

  • Calais

  • Migrants

  • Society

  • Hunger-strike