Calais ‘Jungle’ being dismantled whilst migrants protest

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© Michal Bělka Wikimedia
Part of the ‘Jungle’ before demolition.

AFTER a fraught day on Monday February 29 when around 100 shacks or huts were dismantled and at least a dozen were set on fire, tempers flared and French police had to resort to tear gas in order to stop residents throwing stones at demolition workers.

Then in the evening, it is reported by the French media that an estimated 150 people, some armed with iron bars tried to block the movement of vehicles whilst others attempted to smuggle themselves aboard other lorries.

The police managed to clear the road and then announced that if attempts were made to halt the continued demolition on Tuesday March 1 then they would be prepared to use force.

It is a very confusing situation, as in theory, the French authorities are offering better if, basic accommodation in converted containers, still in Calais or they would be prepared to move the migrants to accommodation in other parts of France. 

The real obstacle is that most of those who are camping in the ‘Jungle’ and who come from Afghanistan, Africa and the Middle East, simply have their minds set on heading for the UK and are worried that if they agree to take up this new accommodation that they will be registered in France, thus losing the opportunity to make their way to and remain in Britain.

A number of British activists and volunteers have gone over to France to try to be involved but reports suggest that some have been refused entry to the area whilst others have been arrested.

Under pressure from the French courts, the authorities have had to agree not to demolish schools, shops and places of worship which decision, perhaps begs the question of whether they are expecting migrants to return to the area again once things quieten down.

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