1 Mar 2016

Calais: French ‘Jungle’ demolition continues

French riot police are preparing for further protests as demolition work at the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp in Calais continues.

Demonstrations broke out yesterday, and went on throughout the night, with officers firing tear gas at stone-throwing migrants and fires breaking out.

Migrants and refugees are angry that the French authorities are trying to evict them from the southern section of the camp.

Some of them have been moved to adapted containers, while others have gone to the northern section or another camp in Dunkirk.

Although they are free to make asylum claims in France, they are reluctant to do so because they want to move to the UK. Some of the migrants are unaccompanied children with relatives in Britain.

France saya people displaced by the demolition will be found somewhere else to live, whether that is adapted containers nearby or centes in other parts of the country.

But campaigners say migrants should be allowed to stay put until enough new accommodation has been found for them.

In Calais, Ginny Howells, UK emergency manager for Save the Children, said the scenes at the camp were “very chaotic”, with migrants “incredibly worried and anxious”.

She added: “No one wants the ‘Jungle’ to exist, but until you’ve worked with them, don’t demolish the community structures that have been built up.”

Tanya Freedman, of Help Refugees, said use of tear gas had been “indiscriminate”, with migrants prevented from collecting their belongings before being evicted.

“It very much felt like a big launch of how they intended to go about it. They were very bullish,” she said.

Most of the estimated 4,000 migrants in the ‘Jungle’ are from the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa. Some have attempted to reach the UK by paying people traffickers, while others have tried to jump on lorries crossing the Channel.