Syrian refugees threaten to jump off roof at Calais ferry port, demanding entry to UK
PRESS RELEASE 4th October 2013
Update 10:30am, Port of Calais, France:
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French police are attempting to clear a protest by 65 Syrian refugees in Calais this morning.
2 young men are on the roof of the port’s departure lounge, threatening to jump unless their demand to enter the UK is met.
20 of the group are entering their third day of hunger strike.
The protesters want a representative from the UK to come to Calais to speak to them and grant them refuge in the UK.
This morning at 7.30 am around 70 riot police and border guards arrived at the departure lounge to violently evict the 65 Syrian refugees on protest there since 2 pm yesterday.
At 8:00 am today a representative of the local Prefecture (regional official) arrived to start negotiations with those on the roof. He is trying to make contact with the UK Government for their response.
In a statement issued by the protesters on Wednesday they said;
‘We are about 65 people from Syria at the port at the moment, with our
families, old women, mothers, children the youngest being three years old and friends’.
‘We are now demonstrating in the port of Calais, we will not leave until
they let us go to England. We demand one person from the UK home office comes here to speak with us’
The message from all of the Syrian protesters is clear
‘refuge in the UK or die at the port in Calais’
The refugees are also angry with the inhumane treatment that they are receiving in France. The last month has seen an escalation in the harassment of migrants in Calais. Evictions of shelters,destruction of people’s property and arrests have been taking place on a daily basis.
Notes for journalists:
Extensive coverage in French media but not picked up yet by UK press.
FULL statement from Syrian protest camp, Calais, France 02/10/2013
‘We have been here now between one and two months. We are about 65 people from Syria at the port at the moment, with our families, old women, mothers, children the youngest being three years old and friends.
There is nowhere safe for us to shelter in Calais, we are here just for one thing and that is to have asylum in England. Many of us have family and friends in England who we would like to see and be able to live with. There is also a strong Syrian community there, more than in France.
We are now demonstrating in the port of Calais, we will not leave until they let us go to England. We demand one person from the UK home office comes here to speak with us, and to see our situation. We have the right to claim asylum in England, but how do we get there? There is not a legal way to cross.
We are about 65 people from Syria at the port at the moment, with our families, old women, mothers, children the youngest being three years old and friends.
We have the right to live a peaceful life and we have unfortunately war in Syria. We need help quickly. We are looking for safety and shelter in Europe but we have not found it yet and we hope to find it in uk.’
For background information on repression of migrants in Calais see ‘This
For updates and news see the Calais Migrant Solidarity Website