Migrant crisis: in Calais a hundred people gathered for a Christmas mass celebrated by the bishop of Arras


This “rotten weather”, these “poor means”, “these are the real conditions in which these people live”, commented Father Philippe Demeestere, at the origin of this ceremony.

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In a temperature of less than 10 degrees, spared from the rain, they gathered around an arbor, where an altar was summarily set up on a side table. About a hundred people, including 25 migrants, associations and Calaisians who came to support them, attended a Christmas mass on Friday, December 24, celebrated by the Bishop of Arras, in a parking lot near a camp area in Calais. “The situation is so precarious for these people that I prefer to be with them”, Olivier Leborgne told AFP.

This “bad weather”, those “middle poor”, “these are the real conditions in which these people live”, commented Father Philippe Demeestere, at the origin of this ceremony. It was he who had been on hunger strike for 25 days in October and November, to denounce the treatments “inhuman” inflicted on migrants on the coast of North and Pas-de-Calais, the starting point for crossings to England.

Friday evening, the migrants present were mainly Eritreans, of the Orthodox faith, used to camping near this vacant lot east of Calais, where associations distribute meals daily.



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