LIVE: Truckers Block Calais To Demand Closure Of Migrant Camp

Truckers, dock workers, farmers and residents of Calais have shut down main roads into the port town in Northern France, promising to continue the blockade until the French government begins to dismantle the illegal ‘Jungle’ migrant camp.

Police recently declared large areas of the town “no-go zone” after dark as migrant violence “peaked”. Cars and trucks have been attacked with chainsaws and knifes, with migrants deliberately causing crashes so they can board vehicles.

The population of the camp is now at 10,000, the highest since French authorities agreed to “demolish” parts of it six months ago, claiming their goal was to reduce the number of camp inhabitants to about 1,500.


Update, 14:51 – BBC reporter Richard Galpin is talking to demonstrators live at the protest.

The BBC’s Richard Galpin is with protesters in Calais. Truckers, shop owners, farmers and police are blocking the motorway to the port and channel tunnel demanding the government find a solution to the problems caused by the migrant camp nearby. Watch Live and ask your questions to Richard and the protesters below

Posted by BBC News on Monday, 5 September 2016


Update, 13:55 – The truckers and farmers are now having a BBQ on the motorway.

CALAIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 05: Farmers, french businesses owners and locals barbecue sausages during a blockade of the main road into the Port of Calais as they protest against The Jungle migrant camp on September 5, 2016 in Calais, France. Local people and business owners are taking part in the protest, dubbed Operation Escargot, calling for The Jungle camp at the French port to be demolished. Up to 10,000 migrants are now living at the camp and are using desperate and violent measures to try and board trucks heading for the UK. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Farmers, french businesses owners and locals barbecue sausages during a blockade of the main road into the Port of Calais as they protest against The Jungle migrant camp on September 5, 2016 in Calais. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

CALAIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 05: A convoy of farmers, french businesses owners and locals blockade the main road into the Port of Calais as they protest against The Jungle migrant camp on September 5, 2016 in Calais, France. Local people and business owners are taking part in the protest, dubbed Operation Escargot, calling for The Jungle camp at the French port to be demolished. Up to 10,000 migrants are now living at the camp and are using desperate and violent measures to try and board trucks heading for the UK. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

A convoy of farmers, french businesses-owners and locals blockade the main road into the Port of Calais (Jack Taylor/Getty Images) 


Update, 12:25 – Protestors have formed a human chain and roads remain blocked.

Residents of the French northern port city of Calais hold French national flags and banners reading "support to truck drivers" (L) and "support to farmers" (R) as they march on the A16 highway on September 5, 2016 during a "go-slow" protest of turk drivers and French Farmers calling for the dismantling of the so-called "Jungle" migrant camp in the French northern port city of Calais. French farmers and truckers launched a joint operation on September 5, 2016 to block off main routes in and out of Calais to call for the closure of the sprawling "Jungle" migrant camp there. Around 70 trucks began a "go-slow" on the main A16 motorway -- the main artery for freight and passengers heading for Britain either via the Channel Tunnel or the Calais port. / AFP / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Residents of the French northern port city of Calais hold French national flags and banners reading “support to truck drivers” (L) and “support to farmers” (R) as they march on the A16 highway on September 5, 2016 during a “go-slow” protest of turk drivers and French Farmers calling for the dismantling of the so-called “Jungle” migrant camp in the French northern port city of Calais. )PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

CALAIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 05: A convoy of farmers, french business owners and locals blockade the main road into the Port of Calais as they protest against "The Jungle" migrant camp on September 5, 2016 in Calais, France. Local people and business owners are taking part in the protest, dubbed Operation Escargot, calling for The Jungle camp at the French port to be demolished. Up to 10,000 migrants are now living at the camp and are using desperate and violent measures to try and board trucks heading for the UK. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)


Update, 11:25 – David Sagnard, president of FNTR national truck drivers’ federation, spoke to Reuters as the convoys, each with about 40 vehicles, set off.

“Before, it was just attempts to get on trucks. Now there is looting and wilful destruction, tarpaulins are slashed, goods stolen or destroyed … Drivers go to work with fear in their bellies and the economic consequences are severe,” he said.

Adding: “Before, it was just attempts to get on trucks. Now there is looting and wilful destruction, tarpaulins are slashed, goods stolen or destroyed … Drivers go to work with fear in their bellies and the economic consequences are severe.”


Update, 11:20 – Eurotunnel has announced diversions and warned of delays.  


Update, 11:15 – New photos show at least 300 protestors and dozens of tractors blocking roads.

Truck drivers and farmers drive from Loon Plage to Calais, on September 5, 2016, during a joint "go-slow" protest on the A16 highway calling for the dismantling of the so-called "Jungle" migrant camp in the French northern port city of Calais. French farmers and truckers launched a joint operation on September 5, 2016 to block off main routes in and out of Calais to call for the closure of the sprawling "Jungle" migrant camp there. Around 70 trucks began a "go-slow" on the main A16 motorway -- the main artery for freight and passengers heading for Britain either via the Channel Tunnel or the Calais port. / AFP / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Truck drivers and farmers drive from Loon Plage to Calais, on September 5, 2016, during a joint “go-slow” protest on the A16 highway near Calais (PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

People hold a banner, reading "My harbour is beatiful, My city is beautiful", as they take part in a demonstration on September 5, 2016 in Calais, to call for the dismantling of the so-called "Jungle" migrant camp in the French northern port city of Calais. The Jungle, a squalid camp of makeshift tents and shelters, is home to around 7,000 migrants but charities say the number might be as high as 10,000 after an influx this summer. / AFP / DENIS CHARLET (Photo credit should read DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images)

People hold a banner, reading “My harbour is beatiful, My city is beautiful”, as they take part in a demonstration on September 5, 2016 in Calais, (Photo credit should read DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images)

Update, 10:30 – Arial footage shown on Sky News shows the extent of the delays caused by the “go slow” operation.


Update, 10:00 – Watch the protest live on Periscope via Telegraph reporter David Chazan.


Update, 9:55 – The main road into the Port of Calais has now been completely blocked by a crowd of hundreds of French businesses owners, local residence and a convoy of trucks.

The protest, dubbed Operation Escargot, is in opposition to official inaction over the huge and growing ‘Jungle’ illegal migrant camp and increasing violence faced by drivers and locals.

CALAIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 05: French businesses owners and locals blockade the main road into the Port of Calais as they wait the arrival of a convoy of trucks protesting against The Jungle migrant camp on September 5, 2016 in Calais, France. Local people and business owners are taking part in the protest, dubbed Operation Escargot, calling for The Jungle camp at the French port to be demolished. Up to 10,000 migrants are now living at the camp and are using desperate and violent measures to try and board trucks heading for the UK. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The original story from AP continues –

CALAIS, France (AP) — Truckers, dock workers, farmers and merchants are blocking a major highway in northern France to demand the closure of the Calais migrant camp known as the “jungle,” as its population surges and tensions rise.

Local authorities are urging travelers to avoid the area in hopes of limiting disruption from the Monday morning blockade, aimed at paralyzing traffic on the route used to access the Eurotunnel and port.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced Friday that the government would dismantle the camp “in a controlled operation” as soon as possible, but protesters want him to set a date.

French police officers stand guard as French farmers gather at Marck prior to meet with a dozen of truck drivers on September 5, 2016 for a slow-down operation on the A16 highway to ask for the dismantling of the so-called "Jungle" migrant camp in the French northern port city of Calais. / AFP / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

French police officers stand guard as French farmers gather at Marck prior to meet with a dozen of truck drivers on September 5, 2016 (PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

The camp, currently home to at least 7,000 migrants from the Middle East and Africa trying to reach Britain, has epitomized the challenges of Europe’s migrant crisis. Authorities have tightened security and closed half of the camp, but the migrant population has reached record highs.

Truckers are frustrated by migrants’ attempts to hop into their vehicles to slip across the English Channel, and local businesses say the migrants have become an economic drain on the city. They are blocking the A16 highway, which is used by European transporters to reach Britain via Calais.

Truck drivers drive from Loon Plage to Calais, on September 5, 2016, during a slow-down operation on the A16 highway to ask for the dismantling of the so-called "Jungle" migrant camp in the French northern port city of Calais. / AFP / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Truck drivers drive from Loon Plage to Calais, on September 5, 2016, (PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

The local administration issued a statement Sunday urging people to avoid non-essential travel to the Calais area throughout the day.

Aid groups warn that a hasty shutdown of the camp would scatter the migrants, aggravate the city’s troubles and worsen the humanitarian drama. While the camp conditions are dismal, migrants have access to food distribution, showers and makeshift shops.

The government says about 7,000 migrants are living there, while aid groups estimate more than 9,000.

A picture taken on September 5, 2016 shows a banner reading "Calais outraged, Calais broken, Calais martyred" and picturing Charles De Gaulle in a vehicle during a slow-down operation lead by truck drivers on the A16 highway from Loon Plage to Calais to ask for the dismantling of the so-called "Jungle" migrant camp in the French northern port city of Calais. / AFP / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

A picture taken on September 5, 2016 shows a banner reading “Calais outraged, Calais broken, Calais martyred” and picturing Charles De Gaulle in a vehicle during a slow-down operation lead by truck drivers on the A16 highway from Loon Plage to Calais (PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

A man wearing a T-shirt reading "I love Calais" stands among trucks as a dozen of truck drivers gather in a parking on September 5, 2016 in Loon Plage prior to a slow-down operation on the A16 highway to ask for the dismantling of the so-called "Jungle" migrant camp in the French northern port city of Calais. / AFP / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

A man wearing a T-shirt reading “I love Calais” stands among trucks as a dozen of truck drivers gather in a parking on September 5, 2016 (PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)


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