Priest who denounced treatment of migrants in Calais ends hunger strike

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French priest Philippe Demeestère announced on Thursday that he has ended his hunger strike, which he started 25 days ago to denounce the police treatment of migrants in Calais, northern France.

Father Philippe Demeestère, 72, chaplain of Secours Catholique in Calais, had been on hunger strike since 11th of October, along with two community activists.

This strike "represented for me a tool among others, to shake up the immobility, to stop the infernal mechanism that subjects exiled people to inhuman and degrading treatment on Calais' land", he explained.

The two activists who accompanied him, Anaïs Vogel and Ludovic Holbein, are continuing the strike.

"I remain in total solidarity with their determination, because the proposals made so far by the authorities do not take into account the itineraries of exiled people who are never given a voice", said the priest.

Winter shelters

He added: "I am resuming the work prior to the commissioning, in Calais, of a new winter shelter for the most vulnerable exiles".

The head of the French Office of Immigration and Integration (Ofii), Didier Leschi, announced on Wednesday the creation of a "night shelter" of 300 places, which "will be opened every day after the evacuations" of migrants.

Demeestère has been responsible for opening winter shelters for refugees for the past two years.

The French state has undertaken to "systematically" offer accommodation to migrants removed from their makeshift camps.

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