About 250–300 people took direct action to block the Eurostar departure gates at St Pancras last Friday night in solidarity with the migrants and refugees in Calais and detention centers in the UK and across the EU.
Activists blocked the departure gates and passengers were stopped from boarding the train to Paris.
“This is what a border feels like!”
Demands included: open the borders to all migrants and refugees; stop financing the racist killing of migrants and refugees; close down the detention centres; and stop deportations.
“No one in? No one out!”
Rallying cries included:
“No justice, no peace!”; “If they won’t give us justice, then we won’t give them peace!”
“Unemployment and inflation are not caused by immigration, bullshit! Come off it! The enemy is profit!”
“All your racist fucking borders we don’t need ’em, need ’em! Back up, back up, we want freedom, freedom!”
“No more borders, no more nations, no more racist immigration!”
“Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here!”
“Who shuts shit down? We shut shit down!”
Some activists covered themselves in fake blood (in memory of those 3000 migrants who have died in 2015 so far) and literally glued themselves to the ticket barriers and the support beams in the middle of the departure area.
The police instigated some shoving and aggressive language, threatening people with arrest. They pushed me and when I calmly told them “stop touching me, stop instigating conflict” they said they had the right to push us because they “fear for [their] safety”. They claimed they were being reasonable by “facilitating the protest” and implied that if we held our ground we would be roughed up.
Perhaps helpful information for future actions: police were comfortable pushing us when we were standing, but would not push us with their feet when we were sitting; in fact, if we edged closer to them they would step back to create space between us and them.
Trains to Paris were delayed and the passengers seemed split on whether they supported the action or were annoyed by the inconvenience. St Pancras staff was likewise divided between calmly expressing support and frantically trying to usher passengers toward the police, who would then try to push past the activists to get passengers toward the barriers. Eventually the police made it clear that if we didn’t leave, they would kettle us and make a mass arrest.
Aside from some pushing, the protest remained peaceful.
The action was led by Black Dissidents, The London Latinxs, and Sisters Uncut. One of the organizers, Tatiana Garavito, wrote a piece about the protest on openDemocracy. Here are some more photos I took before my camera battery died and I joined the action. #YourBordersKill