French priest enters third week of hunger strike for Calais migrants

French priest enters third week of hunger strike for Calais migrants

An elderly Catholic priest and three activists, on Monday, began their third week of a hunger strike to protest what they call “unbearable harassment” of migrants and refugees in Calais.

They demanded that authorities award migrants trêve hivernale status, a French ceasefire that prevents landlords from evicting renters throughout the winter.

The three activists went hunger  strike on October 11 at the St-Pierre Church in Calais, where they have since remained.

In a petition, they asked for a halt to police demolition of camps throughout the winter months, as well as the confiscation of tents and belongings.

French authorities often remove makeshift settlements, confiscating tents and personal possessions. This is to avoid a repetition of the crisis in 2015, when over 10,000 people lived in a camp in the seaside city known as “the Jungle.”

Local charities supporting migrants estimate there were 850 evictions since the start of the year.

The three strikers also want non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to be permitted to give assistance without limitations.

Outside of Calais, 1,500 people live in makeshift camps around the city, waiting to cross the English Channel into the United Kingdom.

The priest hopes to continue his hunger strike until the winter eviction rule takes effect on November 2nd.

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