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Africa, Eritrea, Horn of Africa

The document below – released by Sactism – is apparently from inside the Eritrean government’s security operation.

Martin


Members of 84th, 59th divisions and Support Forces and police were ordered to stop the demonstration on 31 October.

The National Security Agency has detained 17 members of the school committee and other Muslims; including hajji Mussa Mohamed Nur.

After the 31 October incident, a task force composed of General Filpos WeldeYohans, Brigadier General Sm’on WeldeDngl and Brigadier General Abrha Kassa was set up to prepare for any possibility of widespread unrest around the country.

The internal security department has also set up another task force composed of Colonel Yemane Afewerki, Colonel Yemane AndeMariam (Sokolov), Major TesfaLdet Zekarias.

Three clandestine teams have been set up to kidnap and jail any persons considered important in connection with the recent events. The teams are led by Bereket Guush, Yonas Zerai and ‘Wedi Keren’.

People jailed by the teams will be presented to Colonel Tesfaldet Zekarias, who will also be receiving all intelligence regarding the situation form the 10 sub-zones. The interrogators are: Major Kahsai Beyene, Major Fs’haZion, Tewelde (Rashaida), Tewelde Haile, Ftsum, Kflai and ‘Wedi Yosef’; all members of the National Security Agency.

Isaias has given the National Security Agency extreme powers to enable them to contain the present situation. Brigadier General Efrem Hadsh has been given the responsibility of ensuring security at Adi Halo (Isaias’ dam project and office) in addition to mosques and city entry checkpoints. Rapid Forces commander Brigadier General Ftsum GebreHiwet (Wedi Memhr) has been given orders to conduct intensive security measures around Adi Halo and Asmara entry points with the 22nd, 59th divisions and 525th commando division.

The National Security Agency’s 03 branch are sending out gossip saying that the uprising is an extremist fundamentalist movement funded by external forces to stage a coup d’état.

Orders have been given to ensure heavy security around secondary schools and colleges and on the students who had protested at Adi Halo and taken to the Naro plains (hot desert plains in north east Eritrea near the coast).

Orders have been given for the army not to give any clarifications about the incidents or hold meetings.

The President’s Office, the Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Defense offices at Beleza, Bet Gergsh, and Balineki, and the Tract B area are being heavily guarded by the army

Source=https://martinplaut.wordpress.com/2017/11/04/eritrea-internal-security-instructions-on-the-asmara-protests/

Demonstartion of Eritreans In front of Downing Street

Friday, 03 November 2017 18:44 Written by

Pictures showing Demonstartion of Eritreans In front of Downing Street against the crack down of peaceful Demonstrators in Asmara through the use of live Ammunitions of the PFDJ government  
03/11/2017, 16:23:02

Downing ST 1Downing ST 2Downing ST 3Downing ST 4Downing ST 5Downing ST 6

























































Africa, Eritrea, Horn of Africa

Eritrea: details of arrests, injuries during the Akria protest

Details of the scale of the repression under way in Asmara following Tuesday’s protests have been smuggled out of Eritrea.

They are provided in a document [see below] which comes from the United Democratic Eritrean Front.

The information has not been independently corroborated.

Martin


Prisoners: 5th Police Station -58; Adi Abieto- 20; FerroVia-43; 14 women of total 121 prisoners.

Wounded (due to beatings or shots fired) -19, including 5 women and a 67 year old elderly man. Four sustained heavy bullet wounds.

General Filpos has ordered three battalions commanded by Colonel Haregot Frzun deployed to Akria.

They have searched some homes.

He ordered the forces to be on high alert during Friday prayers at mosques.

He has also ordered Asmara, Massawa, Keren, Afabet, Aqurdet,  Barentu and other areas to be under heavy vigilance by security forces.

The security forces have been told that the demonstrators are paid agents of the Qatari government who want a Sharia law government in Eritrea.

Source=https://martinplaut.wordpress.com/2017/11/03/eritrea-details-of-arrests-injuries-during-the-akria-protest/

Africa, Eritrea, Horn of Africa

Eritrea update: Asmara protestors -including women and children – beaten and tortured during interrogation

Update from the Arbi Harnet (Freedom Friday) Network

(Akria 02-11-2017) Following the protests in Asmara on Tuesday, and particularly the pandemonium of the shootings by government soldiers, Akria was relatively calm today.

This afternoon some of the students,  and a few women,  who were taken to prison in connection with the uprising, have been released.

So far in Akria we have counted 5 students and 3 mothers who have been freed.

The condition of their release was that under no circumstances were they to talk about their experiences in prison, or the interrogations they faced.

However, people are refusing to obey these orders and are discussing their experiences.

In the area customarily known as Taseda Tsrgia a young student in the 10th grade told us that when he was detained they took him to the police station at Asmara Expo. He was interrogated and asked to name the organisers of the march.

He was doused in freezing water repeatedly and beaten up with belts.

Today the security officers quietly reopened the school, after realising that the matter had received international attention.

They removed the uniformed, armed, officers and have replaced them with two armed police officers outside the school.

However residents have noticed that there is a huge presence of armed under-cover security people swarming around the area.

The intelligence unit has adopted a cover tactic of quietly approaching people they want for questioning and asking them to report to the local administration office, instead of raiding houses and arresting people.

Having said this, those who did as they were instructed have been taken to undisclosed locations from the local administration offices.

This afternoon alone from a single neighbourhood, known as Riga Somal, two individuals, Mr AbdelKader Ahmed and Mr Negash Beyan were called in and have now disappeared.

In a related news we have also heard that General Philipos has ordered the arrest of high ranking officers, who were coordinating the government response on Tuesday, for not shooting directly at protestors, but instead shooting into the air.

Team Arbi Harnet in Asmara would like to take this opportunity to thank all those humane officers who chose not to shoot at us, their brothers and sisters.

Finally, we are aware that as always the government is trying to make this into a sectarian movement.

We notice that some are buying into that propaganda. This is unfortunate.

Our movement is against the unjust moves of the government, and against subjugation, and although it started in the school the entire district of Akria has joined in.

We are certain that our struggle for justice will succeed and so we call on all our people inside the country and in the diaspora to join us.

Project Arbi Harnet in Asmara

Eritrea protest update: defiance and calls for unity

Wednesday, 01 November 2017 21:38 Written by

2 Comments

I have received this from a contact working through the ‘Freedom Friday’ network.

Martin


Activists from yesterday’s protest are sending a call for national unity against PFDJ actions against religious schools.

In an impassioned appeal for unity across all faiths the activists stated:

“Unsurprisingly the regime is attempting to taint this as a religious move aimed at asserting Moslem dominance in the country.

However neither the actions of the government in closing religious schools not the actions yesterday were about one religious group.

There were Christians protestors on the streets yesterday and some are actually in prison alongside their Moslem brothers.

Yesterday at the mosque we made it clear that our issues are issues of freedom and liberty and not confined to religion or one religious group.

In fact what must be clear is that the schools shut include the Catholic school in at the Cathedral as well as the Orthodox school at Enda Mariam.

We are all victims of the same persecution and yesterday we stood up against them together.

We appeal to all our brothers and sisters to continue to stand in solidarity and reject any attempts to divide and paly us against each other.”

Arbi Harnet [Freedom Friday] commends the unity with which Eritreans across the globe have stood up to PFDJ yesterday and appeals for on-going unity as we stand in solidarity with our people  inside Eritrea.

Source=https://martinplaut.wordpress.com/2017/11/01/eritrea-protest-update-defiance-and-calls-for-unity/

Africa, Eritrea, Horn of Africa, United States

 

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Protests in Asmara

 

The U.S. Embassy has received reports of gunfire at several locations in Asmara due to protests.  The Embassy advises U.S. citizens to avoid the downtown area where protests appear to be more prevalent.  Streets in the downtown area may be closed, and police continue to maintain a significant presence.

Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.  Avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place and exercise caution when in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.  Review personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, including at local events, and monitor local news for information.  Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.

Eritrea: UN expert urges world not to turn its back on people fleeing unending human rights abuses

GENEVA (27 October 2017) – The people of Eritrea are suffering unending brutal human rights violations, and thousands continue walking for days in a desperate bid to reach the borders with neighbouring countries, the UN General Assembly has heard.

Special Rapporteur Sheila B. Keetharuth listed multiple severe violations of people’s human rights, pleading with the international community to show compassion to those who risked death to cross the border, where shoot-to-kill orders were allegedly carried out by the military.

“I appeal to the international community not to turn their backs on Eritrean refugees for short-term political gain in response to populist electoral demands or promises, which can translate into actual restrictions, harassment and human rights violations,” she said, while updating the General Assembly on the country’s bleak human rights picture.

“At best, efforts to reduce the number of Eritrean refugees arriving will lead only to a temporary drop in numbers, but they will not stop people crossing deserts and seas in search of safe havens. No barrier will be insurmountable for someone fleeing human rights violations.”

The Special Rapporteur said that with no apparent changes in Eritrean policy at home, citizens were still dying in custody or enduring indefinite detention with no access to their families and lawyers.

The rights to freedom of expression and religion were also being violated, the Special Rapporteur said, citing reports that followers of both recognized and non-recognized religious denominations were still being detained in the capital, Asmara.

“Arrest and detention are used to punish, intimidate, create an atmosphere of fear, or to ‘disappear’ those who are deemed dangerous because they do not toe the line,” said Ms. Keetharuth, urging the Government of Eritrea to end its long-standing practice of arbitrary detentions and respect the rights of all prisoners.

“Eritrea still has no constitution to provide protection for fundamental human rights, no independent judiciary, no legislative assembly – in fact no institutions that could ensure checks and balances or protect against the misuse of power by the state,” she said.

Many arrests followed the same pattern, she said. Detainees were not told why they were being held, were not taken to court where they could challenge their detention, and were denied access to lawyers and visitors. Even close family members could only hand food and clean clothes to prison guards. Detainees were not told whether or when they would be freed, and no information was made public on specific cases.

Countless Eritreans were seeking to leave in search of a place where their rights would be respected, but even that was fraught with risks, the Special Rapporteur said.

Ms Keetharuth highlighted that Eritreans were still being forced into indefinite national service, despite a maximum of 18 months being set by the country’s laws.

Recent figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) show 20,000 people have crossed into a neighbouring country so far this year, nearly as many as in the whole of 2016, with 46 per cent of those transported by the IOM aged 18-24.  

The Special Rapporteur said that, rather than trying to reduce the number of Eritrean asylum seekers and refugees they were receiving, other countries should ensure their human rights were protected.

“The international community needs to restore the rights and dignity of Eritrean refugees by closing human rights protection gaps in national refugee policies,” she said.

Calls by the Commission of Inquiry to ensure accountability for past human rights violations and crimes against humanity had not resulted in any new measures, she added.

The Special Rapporteur, who has proposed a series of benchmarks to assess Eritrea’s progress, urged the Government to show its “genuine commitment and serious determination” to achieve progress by taking concrete steps to improve people’s lives.

ENDS

Ms. Sheila B. Keetharuth (Mauritius) was appointed as the  Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea in October 2012. From 2014 to 2016, she also served as a member of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea. Since May 2014, Ms. Keetharuth has been an expert member of the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Until 2012, Ms. Keetharuth was the Executive Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa in Banjul, The Gambia. She also worked with Amnesty International in Kampala, Uganda, and as a lawyer and broadcaster in Mauritius. In 2017, Ms. Keetharuth was awarded the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award by the University of Leicester, in recognition of her human rights work.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights country page – Eritrea

For inquiries and media requests, please contact Birthe Ankenbrand (+41 22 928 9465 / ).

For media inquiries in New York please contact: Ravina Shamdasani  (+1 347 446 5294 / ) or Nenad Vasic ().

Concerned about the world we live in? Then STAND UP for someone’s rights today. #Standup4humanrights and visit the web page at http://www.standup4humanrights.or

Source=https://martinplaut.wordpress.com/2017/10/27/un-expert-urges-general-assembly-not-to-turn-their-backs-on-eritrean-refugees/

Life in Asmara, Eritrea – 1935

Wednesday, 04 October 2017 19:32 Written by

Two images which I have purchased showing the life of ordinary men and women in the Italian colony of Eritrea, soon after the invasion of Ethiopia.

Each has a caption, which I have transcribed

Asnara - queuing for water 1935

“Italy’s war base in the North.

Asmara, chief port (sic) of the Italian African colony of Eritrea, has become one of the busiest cities in northern Africa.

Centre of the Italian campaign on the northern front, all supplies and ammunitions pass through the town, which is on the railway from Massawa, the Eritrean port on the Red Sea.

The above photo shows a line-up of empty gasoline cans at the village fountain, which was used for the domestic water supply.”

Date: 17/12/35

Asmara market 1935

“Italy’s war base in the North.

Asmara, chief port (sic) of the Italian African colony of Eritrea, has become one of the busiest cities in northern Africa.

Centre of the Italian campaign on the northern front, all supplies and ammunitions pass through the town, which is on the railway from Massawa, the Eritrean port on the Red Sea.

The above photo shows a general view of the native market in Asmara.”

Date: 17/12/35

Source=https://martinplaut.wordpress.com/2017/10/03/life-in-asmara-eritrea-1935/

Remembering the day the Eritrean press died

Friday, 29 September 2017 12:47 Written by

 

Eritrea's transformation into a police state started with a ban on independent media 16 years ago today.

18 Sep 2017 11:16 GMT |

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By demolishing the independent media, ceaselessly recycling tired propaganda, and introducing pervasive censorship, Afwerki has created a grim state, writes Zere [Reuters]By demolishing the independent media, ceaselessly recycling tired propaganda, and introducing pervasive censorship, Afwerki has created a grim state, writes Zere [Reuters]

By

@abraham_zere

Abraham T Zere is the executive director of PEN Eritrea in exile.

People who haven't experienced Eritrea's descent into totalitarianism first hand cannot truly understand what daily life looks like there. Even the infamous labels associated with the country - such as "most censored" country on Earth or the bottom-ranked nation on the Press Freedom Index for 10 consecutive years - do not help understand Eritrea's day-to-day reality.

So let me share my first-hand experience.

Exactly 16 years ago, on September 18, 2001, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and his clique banned seven independent newspapers and imprisoned 11 of the most senior government officials.

That "Black Tuesday" was the start of Eritrea's transformation into the police state that it is today. Before this happened, despite various challenges, Eritrean independent media briefly had created space for open discussion, even providing a forum for dissident political leaders.

Crushing dissent

The first official response to the promising signs of a vibrant press and open political forums in Eritrea came in early September 2001 when President Afwerki appointed Naizghi Kiflu as minister of information. Kiflu had acquired a bad reputation for being a brutal and merciless commander during the struggle for independence. He had served as chief of the infamous military prison then called the Revolutionary Guard. Never shy about his dark past, in his first meeting with the ministry's staff members and journalists, Kiflu reminded them that he had been "a cruel cadre and ex-chief of the Revolutionary Guard".

After banning private newspapers and ordering a swift wave of arrests, the minister circulated an order to Eritrea's printing houses to immediately cease printing any material, including wedding invitations and nightclub posters.

Thus, began the country's steady descent into the abyss.

OPINION: Eritrea - Anecdotes of indefinite anarchy

In a typically nerve-racking second meeting with the ministry staff, following the private newspaper ban and imprisonment of several independent journalists, Minister Kiflu referred to journalists as a "bunch of rodents," declaring that "it is not that difficult for the Eritrean government to get rid of rodents."

Though Kiflu's tenure was brief, it was long enough to create an atmosphere of fear in the ministry characterised by the constant feeling of insecurity, arbitrary arrests, and the introduction of a semi-military structure to the ministry.

After destroying the blossoming media scene of the young African nation to serve his own interests, President Afwerki now has a media apparatus that enables him to vent however he likes.

His successor as de facto minister of information, Ali Abdu Ahmed, lifted the ban on printing and replaced it with ubiquitous and pervasive censorship. For over a decade, Eritrean artists and writers were beaten down by this medieval exercise of censorship. The ministry ordered that lyrics be changed in song stanzas and chapters be deleted or rewritten in books for no apparent reason. Frequently, these orders weren't based on political objections as much as the personal whims of government censors or in some cases, merely the censor's perverse desire to exercise power.

In time, the ministry's brutal crackdown on independent media and senseless censorship of any form of art caused Eritrean artists to avoid presenting sensitive artworks to the office for consideration. Naturally, as they ran out of content to censor, the censorship office devolved into an "advisory" unit, in which the personal suggestions and preferences of the censors became the de facto policy of the ministry. This had the effect of totally silencing all artists and writers, putting them into indefinite artistic hibernation.

Fear and centralisation

Ali Abdu - Afwerki's mentee - served for more than a decade as de facto minister of information until he finally fled the country in 2012. Following Kiflu's short tenure characterised by fear and intimidation, Abdu institutionalised mechanisms of control and turned the national media into a giant mirror of the president. Through Abdu, the ministry of information began resembling a cadet school. It also started running semi-military prison centres.

Abdu not only ruled by creating fear among his subordinates; he himself lived in perpetual anxiety, constantly currying favour and seeking approval from his boss, President Afwerki. Interestingly, although Abdu was commonly referred as a minister, especially by the international media, he has never been conferred as a minister, nor acting minister, even. His post was director of the national TV, Eri-TV and officially, he was addressed as "Ali Abdu from Ministry of Information." Knowing his ambition and constant seeking of approval, Afwerki certainly kept him in that ambiguous post to maintain his own interests and possibly keep him in check.

READ MORE: Escaping Eritrea's open prison

Fully devoted to only serve the president, at some point, Abdu began reading and approving every local news item before it could be printed or broadcast.

Deeply familiar with the unbending system and armed with sniffy threshold guardians from top to bottom, he hardly allowed any sensitive material to pass muster. Abdu was very fastidious about ensuring that no one in the president's disfavour would receive any media coverage. Only Abdu, and those like him who had mastered the labourious task of reading the emotions of the president, could head such a tattered media.

If his staff failed to live up to expectations, Abdu would take the task himself. One time, when the monitoring unit of the ministry failed to record a TV programme broadcast by an international network that criticised Eritrea, President Afwerki's office complained.

Abdu responded by taking up the matter himself. In order to personally monitor and record such programmes, he installed 16 mini-screens in his office that showed major news networks from around the world. These screens were kept on the whole day while he went about his routine.

The emperor's new clothes

After destroying the blossoming media scene of the young African nation to serve his own interests, President Afwerki now has a media apparatus that enables him to vent however he likes.

He frequently gives "short interviews" to the national TV that run for about two hours. The president approves all questions beforehand. The sole task of "journalists" is to help him transition from one topic to another and keep him talking on the overall subject.

READ MORE: Exiled Eritreans campaign for freedom of journalists

Typically, Afwerki takes about half an hour to respond to one question. No wonder that in one of these pre-recorded interviews, journalist Asmelash Abraha fell asleep in the middle of the president's long reply.

When not broadcasting these pseudo-interviews, the national TV reports on Afwerki's endless "tour of inspection" around the country, where he spends ample time observing development endeavours and supervising projects, such as the construction of dams.

Avoiding state TV

Afwerki may have the means to print and broadcast whatever he likes, but hardly anyone is left to listen to or read what he is saying. Eritrean citizens hardly ever watch the national television, Eri-TV, whose motto is "serving the truth" as it failed to report on major international events such as the Arab Spring and continues to stay silent about many other crucial regional developments. If Eritreans had to depend on their state media outlets, they wouldn't know, for example, that Muammar Gaddafi and Hosni Mubarak had been removed from power.

Meanwhile, Eritrea's state newspaper has effectively devolved into an obituary news bulletin. Readers typically start with classified ads inserts or read from the back to the front starting with sports.

Stuck in such a grim and unperceptive media environment, Eritreans devised new forms of civil disobedience. To be able to evade the country's only state TV station, almost every household in Eritrea has installed a satellite-dish receiver.

Going astray

After free media was destroyed in Eritrea, it did not take long for the country to become fully militarised. The military soon took over schools, administrations and most civilian posts. In addition to the systematic dismantling of education, press, commerce and religion, the September 2001 crackdown brought open hostility towards the rule of law and accountability.

Military commanders started establishing underground prison facilities for extracting money from inmates' relatives. Today, there are more than 360 "correctional facilities" mostly run by the military commanders. Now that there is no independent press to keep it in check, the military, which gained the most power in Afwerki's regime, is ruling the country.

A Special Court has also endorsed and furthered this systematic obstruction of the rule of law. A military tribunal run by undertrained military commanders rules on most court cases. Civilian courts, including the Supreme Court, have been reduced to handling petty theft and family law cases. These civil courts are obliged to consult the military commanders before handing down verdicts on important issues. Naturally, the commanders request revisions until a verdict to their liking is reached.

By demolishing the independent media, ceaselessly recycling tired propaganda, and introducing pervasive censorship, Afwerki has created a grim state. As a result, Eritrea transformed into a monotone nation whose entire populace utter the same expressions that had been fed through the national media, literature and art production. Afweki's media is trying to project an image of Eritrea as an ideal state, but this image is only suspended in the national media and is exactly the opposite of the reality of present-day Eritrea.

Abraham T Zere is a US-based Eritrean writer and journalist who is serving as the executive director of PEN Eritrea in exile. Among others, his articles - that mainly deal with Eritrea's gross human rights abuses and lack of freedom of expression - have appeared in The Guardian, The Independent and the Index on Censorship Magazine. 

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

Source=http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/remembering-day-eritrean-press-died-170918074330130.html?utm_source=Al+Jazeera+English+Newsletter+%7C+Weekly&utm_campaign=124dde0181-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_08_13&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e427298a68-124dde0181-212942305

Refugees are back in Calais, nearly a year after the refugee camp known as The Jungle was dismantled -

Michael Debets/Pacific Press/ZUMA      

2017-09-21

The French coastal city was home to the infamous makeshift village of migrants seeking to cross to the UK. The "Jungle" was dismantled less than a year ago, but immigrants are now back in town.

CALAIS — The French city of Calais wakes up slowly. All is peaceful. A few cars cross the Mollien bridge, which lies just a stone's throw away from the imposing red-brick city hall and its belfry that dominate this city. Under it, some 20 Eritreans have taken shelter for the night. They're trying to get a bit more sleep despite the late summer sunshine. At least, the sun helps dry their belongings, which had been soaked in a recent shower of rain.

There were three times as many people as the previous day, when police intervened to destroy their camp and push them away from the city center. Some allowed the police to take them to one of the two new reception centers created by Interior Minister Gérard Collomb, where migrants can be registered and receive guidance. But they have now decided to return to the bridge.

"I refused to get on their bus," says Oumar, a 20-year-old from the Central African Republic. "They would have sent me back directly to Italy where I had my fingerprints taken." Oumar has been "Dublined." It means that, under the so-called Dublin Regulation, he should be applying for asylum in Italy, the EU country where he was first registered. But despite his tired face, Oumar is determined not to go.

Migrants have returned to the city center in Calais, despite the unyielding posture of both the mayor and the interior ministry. A recent ruling from France’s top administrative court, the Conseil d'État, ordered authorities to provide migrants with drinking water and sanitary facilities but also acknowledged that they shouldn't return to the city, less than a year after the infamous "Jungle" was razed.

The lopsided court decision didn't please anybody. Not the town hall, which simply refused to abide by the ruling, and preferred to pay a daily 100-euro penalty. Not the government either, eager to avoid the nightmare of another "Jungle". Finally, the associations and NGOs that support the migrants are also unhappy and consider this minimal aid disgraceful for those who are still sleeping in horrific conditions.

The balance between firmness and humanity is difficult to strike. Between 450 and 700 migrants roam along the A16 highway, which leads to the Channel Tunnel. According to L'Auberge des migrants, an NGO that has researched the migrants, 97% are men, aged 21 on average, and mostly come from Afghanistan, Eritrea, and Somalia.

The police constantly intervene to remove them and seize their camping equipment. Volunteers call it "roundups" (a clear reference to the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup, which took place under Nazi German occupation), an appalling reference that twists a complex reality.

"I've never seen such thing, we can't even give them tents anymore because they are immediately destroyed," says Christian Salomé, president of l'Auberge des migrants. "We only give them ponchos and tarpaulins now, and that's how they sleep..." And yet, these living conditions don't deter migrants. Those who refuse help from the French Office for Immigration and Integration regroup in well-defined areas. Afghan migrants usually gather around the hospital, whereas Africans go further north, to the industrial park near the harbor.

Refugees trying to enter trucks on the road that leads to the port of Calais — Photo: Michael Debets/Pacific Press/ZUMA

This is where the association La Vie Active installs two water taps and portable toilets every morning. The showers haven't been set up as yet. The group describes it as a "mobile" system but that's misleading: The equipment is removed every evening and reinstalled the next day — in the same place. This is also where l'Auberge des migrants and the Refugee Community Kitchen give food to migrants three times a day, and where Help the Refugees gives them clothes.

"It's terrible, my commercial activity is pretty much non-existent. They rush by the dozens on any truck that stops here," says Patrick Carpentier, the manager of a nearby gas station. Earlier, a Polish truck driver witnessed this first hand. While he was nervously filling gas, a group of about 20 Eritreans surrounded his vehicle, testing the locks, the canvas, and the chassis, looking for a way to get on the truck. "I'm not mad at them and it pains me to see them like this, wandering outside," Patrick Carpentier says. "But the government doesn't realize the impact their presence has on us, here in Calais... And it looks like it doesn't care either."

The number of migrants intercepted in the harbor or inside the trucks is nothing compared to what it was before the demolition of the "Jungle". But it has gone up significantly since the spring. In August alone, 1,250 migrants were caught inside trucks, compared to 1,000 in July and just 190 in April. The police also fear that migrants may resume blocking the road with tree trunks. In June, a Polish driver died due to this.

As winter approaches, President Emmanuel Macron's goal to no longer have people sleep on the street will be hard to meet, at least in Calais. The interior ministry's emergency shelter solutions can work for the migrants who want to, and are able to, apply for asylum in France. But for those who want to reach Britain, whether it's the migrants who've been "Dublined" or for those whose asylum application in another EU country was rejected, Calais remains the only possibility in sight.

"From the moment migrants turn down what we offer them, we should draw the consequences and move on to harder procedures," says Gilles Debove of the police union SGP.

Out of the 22 migrants who agreed to get on a bus to be driven to a center one-hour's drive away, 15 of them returned by train to Calais the following day. When nine minors from Eritrea were handed over to the border police, they refused the shelter they were offered, and were later released.

Source=https://www.worldcrunch.com/world-affairs/the-calais-jungle-is-gone-but-migrants-are-back-already