Save The Restaurants

SAVE THE RESTAURANTS!

Tomorrow is a big day for the future of the Calais Jungle.

Over the last couple of weeks, the restaurants and shops in the camp have been closed following traumatic raids by police, confiscating all food and water and arresting ‘business’ owners.

Tomorrow is the court case in Lille to attempt to save the shops and restaurants from the imminent eviction and bulldozing they face in the next 48 hours.

This is devastating for the entire population of the camp for many reasons.

Firstly the shops and restaurants provide safe, communal spaces for people to eat, socialize, drink tea, charge their phones, and spend some time away from the tents / shelters in which they live.

Abdul from Afghanistan, who runs Welcome Restaurant, explained,

“I can help the people. The Sudanese people lost their homes in a fire. I open the restaurant and they are sleeping in here for one week.
Everyone is the same, I respect everyone”

The restaurants are open to all. Even those who don’t have money are welcome to charge their phones using the generators, so they can contact friends and family back home, and people are often given free food if they are unable to pay. The Kids Café (which we support) is a restaurant providing free, healthy, warm food for under 18’s for lunch and dinner. Sikander, who runs the Kids Café, was arrested along with other restaurant owners and Kids Café has been forced to stop serving food for the last couple of weeks.

Access to this food is crucial. Without these shops and restaurants, everyone in the camp is reliant on donated food. This goes against the entrepreneurial, resourceful nature of the people in the camp, forcing them to wait in line for hours to receive hand-outs. With many people in Europe so worried about refugees coming to their countries and ‘taking benefits etc’, it seems crazy to force them into this position when they are trying and succeeding in being self-sustaining.

Not only this, the queue for food distributions take hours, dehumanising people and forcing them into an undignified situation. There is not enough food for everyone and this can cause desperate, hungry people to argue. This is the same story for the showers…hours and hours of queuing and not enough hot water. Entrepreneurial residents have started hairdressers and ‘hammams’ where people can wash. They too have been forced to close.

Taking away the ability for people to buy the essentials that they need from the camp itself, forces them to go into Calais, to the supermarkets to do so. This can cause problems with the local community who are not always friendly towards the refugees, and supermarkets have been known to refuse entry to those without ID.

Some of the restaurants even have TV’s, they play music, they provide some sense of normality, of dignity, of choice, fun, laughter and community.

Who is anyone to strip that away… again.

To help save the restaurants, sign this petition.

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