Two Iranian illegal immigrants have been arrested after walking the entire length of the Channel Tunnel into England. They slipped past security on Friday night as more than 100 migrants broke into the tunnel en masse, many getting as far as a third of the way to England before being arrested by French police.
Two men, both from Iran, walked the entire 31 mile length of the track in 12 hours, arriving in Folkestone on Saturday afternoon where they were quickly detained by police. In doing so, they cheated death as trains pass through the tunnel at high speeds with just 80cm clearance between the trains and the tunnel walls. Live electrical currents inside the tunnel also pose mortal risk to any migrants opting to walk it.
Kent police have named the men as Payam Moradi Mirahessari, 25, and Farein Vahdani, 20. They were remanded in custody when they appeared at Medway Magistrates’ Court, accused of obstructing an engine or carriage using the railway.
They followed in the footsteps of Abdul Rahman Haroun, a Sudanese man who became the first to complete the journey on foot in August. His success was an inspiration to fellow migrants – 28-year-old Moussa Daoud from Darfur commented at the time: “Congratulations. We can try to.” The success of Mirahessari and Vahdani is likely to inspire further attempts, and more deaths. 13 people have died trying to make the journey on foot so far.
The pair were able to slip past guards during scenes of chaos in the early hours of Saturday morning when upwards of 100 migrants broke onto the tracks and started down the tunnel towards England, causing train services to be halted. The vast majority, most of whom were from Eritrea and Sudan were rounded up by French police about 10 miles along the line, Fabienne Buccio, prefect for the Pas de Calais has said.
— Hans Solo (@thandojo) October 4, 2015
He added that 23 arrests were made on the night, while a further seven migrants, plus two police officers and a security guard were treated for injuries sustained during the brawl.
A Eurotunnel spokesman said: “It’s a massive invasion and intrusion by a very large and coordinated group of migrants. They are being gathered up by the police authorities.”
He added: “It’s clearly an organised attack when it comes in such a large number, there are over 100 in this one group. They arrived together and in a well-organised manner broke through the fences and all clearly knew where they were going.
“They ran through the terminal, knocking some staff to the ground and throwing stones at them. There are some minor injuries to staff and also two police officers. They were treated at the scene by paramedics.”
Thanks to the organised nature of the break-in, the French authorities have accused leftist anarchist groups of aiding the migrants. As many as 200 originally stormed the fences surrounding the Eurotunnel tracks at Coquilles, Calais.
The Mirror has suggested that the culprits were No Borders, an “anarchist group” which “is said to have stepped up its presence in Calais this week.”
However, the group, which campaign for an end to national borders has denied the charge, saying: “People from Africa and Asia don’t need European anarchists to incite or organise them.
“The “British anarchist” line from the cops and journalists is insulting and deeply racist. We “No Borders”, anarchists and others, are proud to stand in solidarity with our friends without papers. But these actions are theirs, they don’t need us to lead them or show them how to fight.”
Commenting on the incident, Ukip MEP Mike Hookem told Breitbart London that it showed “no one has a proper grip on the migrant crisis in Calais.”
Mr Hookem has travelled repeatedly to Calais over the summer to witness the conditions in the camps, and security measures surrounding the Eurotunnel lines for himself. He was able to scale fences designed to keep migrants out, despite being three times older than many of those making the journey to Britain.
“These people walked a distance five miles longer than the London marathon but no one thought to stop them, not even the tunnel security who are supposed to have ramped up their efforts,” he said.
“Maybe now the media spotlight has moved they think they can get back to sitting around in their cars as I witnessed them doing over the summer.
“We aren’t talking about desperate refugees here – they’re camped out in Lebanon in unsanitary conditions. These are economic migrants, with some Daesh [ISIS] extremists sprinkled amongst them, who want to either take what they can from our country or cause it harm.
“Lorry drivers have been keeping me informed of what is going on in Calais and they say the migrants keep trying to stow away and break into their trucks all the while the left wing media are proclaiming a ‘humanitarian crisis’ and ignoring the plight of people trying to earn a living and keep British consumers in food and other goods which businesses rely on the haulage industry for.”