Calais: recording reveals gendarmes sending away migrants who wanted to file complaints about police violence

French newspaper Libération was recently given a recording showing how the gendarmes snubbed migrants who had come to file a complaint against police violence in Calais.

On 24th June 2014,Clémence Gautier, lawyer at the Calaisien migrant support association Plateforme de services aux migrants, went to gendarmes in Norrent-Fontes (Pas-de-Calais) with Eritrean migrants to file a complaint against the police and a lorry driver for assault and inflicting injuries. She recorded several minutes of dialogue and gave the recording to Libération.

Clémence had been confident of being treated well by the police, but was seriously disappointed. The gendarmes dissuaded the migrants from filing a complaint and alluded to taking the migrants to a detention centre.  One gendarme said that it was “excusable” that the lorry driver had hit the migrants.

In the days following the failed attempt to file a complaint, the gendarmes stepped up their presence in Norrent-Fontes, where the migrants were sleeping next to the motorway.