From June 23 to 29, 2009, hundreds of people gathered in Calais for the "No Border camp", aiming to highlight the realities of the situation in Calais and Northern France; to build links with the migrant communities; to help build links between migrants support groups ; and lastly, but not least, to challenge the authorities on the ground, to protest against increased repression of migrants and local activists alike. The week should culminate with a demonstration in Calais on Saturday 27.
Concerned with the potential violence and civil disobedience actions, and traumatized by the events in Strasbourg during the recent NATO summit, the authorities had deployed a massive security force: more than 2500 police officers, horses and dogs, water canons, helicopters, etc. All demonstrators were body searched, occupants of the camp were stopped for ID controls, and the local media warned the population of likely violence and vandalism.
In the end, only 2000 demonstrators showed up and marched peacefully, and while the authorities praised themselves for the deterrence effect of their security scheme, many inhabitants were left wondering whether this was really the best use of their taxes !