France clears major migrant camp amid tensions with Britain

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Desperate migrants kiss British soil after making perilous trip across the Channel
Desperate migrants kiss British soil after making perilous trip across the Channel. image: Twitter

France clears major migrant camp following a discussion between French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and his British counterpart Priti Patel on Monday.

On Tuesday morning, Darmanin announced that “on his orders” police had cleared a camp in Grande-Synthe, near the port of Dunkirk, which is one of the main departure points for Britain. This was done only after giving a blunt interview in which he said Britain should “should stop using us as a punch-ball in their domestic politics”.

An aide to Darmanin apparently has denied that the operation was linked to the conversation with Patel, saying the clearance was “scheduled for this date” before the phone call took place.

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A record number of migrants crossed the Channel in small boats last Thursday, 1,185 according to British figures, a number the British government described as “unacceptable”.

French police regularly clear camps around Calais and Dunkirk, offering migrants there the opportunity to lodge an asylum request in France and to move to a shelter. Many of the migrants however refuse the offer preferring instead to try and continue their journey to Britain.

Relations between France and Britain are at their lowest point in decades due to a host of disagreements on issues ranging from migrants to fishing in the Channel, as well as a submarine contract with Australia.



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