A policeman denounces the gratuitous violence of his colleagues against migrants in Calais (NGO)

AA / Paris / Ümit Dönmez

A policeman, member of the Republican Security Companies (CRS), denounced the gratuitous violence exercised by his colleagues against migrants, on August 23, in Calais, in the north of France, according to a non-governmental organization (NGO).

In a press release, the NGO Utopia 56, reports that on the night of August 22 to 23, at 1:15 a.m., its team “was called to its emergency line for a situation of police violence against exiles” .

– Police violence against migrants in Calais

The NGO thus describes the facts related by the victims to the teams of Utopia 56 and Human Rights Observer (HRO), a project supported by the Auberge des Migrants and Utopia 56, two NGOs supporting exiled people.

“That night, a group of exiled people, originally from Eritrea, went to the parking lot of a Calais gas station to try to get into a truck with the hope of reaching the United Kingdom. Once there, at the sight of a CRS truck, part of the group turned around, and only two people, aged 18, remained” on the spot, indicates the NGO.

“When the CRS arrive at their level, one of the police officers strikes each of the two people in the face. The CRS seizes the two people by the arms to take them to a side street away from the cameras, this which constitutes an act of premeditation”, we still read in the press release reporting that one of the agents then struck a new violent blow in the face of one of the people, who fell to the ground.

“After putting the second person on the ground, about 7 CRS kicked them on the ground many times. The CRS left laughing, leaving the two people injured on the ground” according to this testimony.

Utopia 56 reports that the victims’ friends then returned to them and called Utopia 56 to report the violence.

“A CRS V/54 van, which arrived on the scene after the violence, was present when the Utopia 56 volunteers arrived on the scene. One of the victims was still on the ground, blood on his face. firefighters were contacted and transported one of the victims to the hospital,” the NGO said. She specifies that the medical certificate drawn up overnight by a doctor from the Calais hospital mentions “bleeding and a deviation of the nasal bridge (fracture), pain on chest palpation, as well as scrotal pain “.

– An anonymous call from a CRS

Questioned this Saturday by the Anadolu Agency (AA), William Feuillard, coordinator for the NGO “L’Auberge des Migrants”, was able to confirm that on August 23, in the morning, his NGO received an anonymous call from a person presenting themselves as CRS in Calais.

The latter wished to denounce the violence of the previous night, explaining that the perpetrators of this violence are members of “another section, another vehicle of the CRS 54” and that these CRS “make it look like an accident”, l caller deeming this “unacceptable”.

“They left the poor like an abandoned dog, it’s these kind of colleagues who do us a lot of harm,” laments the latter.

Questioned this Saturday by the Anadolu Agency, the Communication and Advocacy Coordinator of Human Rights Observer (HRO), denounces “inadmissible violence in a rule of law as France is supposed to be”,

Adding that this violence “is unfortunately too frequent”, the association manager recalls that “another case of police violence [contre des migrants, NDLR] was reported to us on July 12, and a new one on September 7”.

“Other police violence is surely committed without being reported to us by exiled people, who do not all know our work”, explains the Communication and Advocacy Coordinator of HRO.

“The worst part of all this is the fact that the perpetrators of this violence are only very rarely convicted, for lack of evidence or the impossibility of identifying them. But we will continue to do everything to denounce these acts and try to bring their perpetrators to justice,” he said.

– Yet another police violence against migrants

In its press release, Utopia 56, indicates that at the request of HRO, “the Defender of Rights confirmed that he had taken the necessary steps to preserve the recordings of the surveillance cameras of the service station where the violence began.

On August 31, a report containing all the elements was brought to the attention of the prosecutor of Boulogne sur Mer, Mr. Guirec Le Bras, specifies Utopia 56, recalling that in 2020, in Calais, the testimonies of several gendarmes had obtained a conviction following violent robberies by their colleagues.

The NGO recalls that on October 9, 2021, the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin made the following statement:

“What I can say is that despite all the trials of intent that we make to the police, I note that not a policeman and not a gendarme on the coast has been prosecuted by the justice”.

This statement is formally denied by an inter-associative press release of October 26, 2021, entitled “Police violence: in Calais, Darmanin is lying!”, reporting that at least five members of the police have already been convicted since 2015.

The NGO explains the testimonies of police violence in Calais are common and deplores the fact that only “a minority of these situations follow up on investigations and convictions”.

Noting “violence is above all the result of policies of harassment and mistreatment carried out at the border for years”, the NGO describes “a policy which, despite the stated objective, has only strengthened the networks of illegal crossings to the detriment of the protection of exiles and inhabitants”.

* Due to Human Rights Observer (HRO) policy, the names of HRO members interviewed are withheld

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