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French Police, Migrants Clash Near Calais Camp

(AFP) – French police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse some 200 migrants and activists after clashes broke out Saturday as they attempted to hold a banned rally by the squalid “Jungle” camp in Calais, regional authorities said.

Three police officers were slightly injured from stones hurled by some of the migrants, they added.

A demonstration in support of the migrants had been planned for Saturday but it was banned by local authorities.

Then on Saturday afternoon, “200 people, mainly from the No Borders group and migrants gathered in front of the CRS (riot police)” on the outskirts of the camp, said Etienne Desplanques, an official of the Pas-de-Calais region.

Since the gathering was banned, police sought to push the protesters back inside the camp, he said.

Resorting to tear gas and water cannon, police brought the situation under control in 20 minutes, he added.

An AFP photographer said he was also slightly injured from the stone-throwing.

Between 7,000 and 10,000 migrants are currently living in the “Jungle”, a launchpad for people’s desperate attempts to stow away on lorries heading across the Channel to England.

French President Francois Hollande on Monday said the sprawling migrant camp in Calais would be dismantled by the end of this year under a plan to spread asylum seekers around the country.

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