French celebs pen letter to Macron demanding end to police brutality against migrants
The letter was published by Bondy Blog, a news site that covers the impoverished suburbs, and was signed by 65 people, including far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the president of Médecins du Monde Françoise Sivignon.
The signatories said that local authorities in Calais were actively preventing volunteers from distributing food and water to migrants.
The letter, published on Friday, read: “Charity officials say that some 600 UK-bound migrants have returned to Calais since the ‘Jungle’ refugee camp was dismantled in October 2016.
Aid workers are fighting to meet the migrants’ most immediate, basic needs, such as access to food and water, but local authorities are doing everything within their power to stop them from doing so.”
The activists also accused police of using excessive force against migrants and of blocking their access to food distribution points in an effort to persuade them to leave Calais.
They said in the letter: “Migrants are struggling to access food distributions. They are being beaten up, deprived of sleep and gassed by police. Riot police officers once stopped aid workers from handing out water to a group of migrants, including isolated minors… In addition, all water fountains have been removed.”
“Policemen have a duty to act honourably and protect vulnerable people from harm”, the letter continued.
“Who is giving these orders? Do police officers not have better things to do than deny exhausted men, women and children access to food and water? Are we honouring police officers by forcing them to carry out such inhumane deeds?”
The brutal treatment of migrants in France must end, the 65 signatories told Mr Macron.
“Migrants are being subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment, and this must stop. It’s a question of humanity. We are not asking you to be generous, we are simply asking you to put a stop to this unnecessary violence and to respect migrants’ fundamental rights.”
Mr Macron vowed during his election campaign to renegotiate the Le Touquet agreement, a controversial border deal signed in 2003 that allows British border officials to carry out checks in Calais, and which has turned the port town into a migrant hotspot.