French Police Bust Up Major Migrant Camp in Calais After Illegals Attack Officers

Police stand next to migrants at the makeshift camp in Calais, northern France, on Novembe
DENIS CHARLET/AFP via Getty Images

A migrant camp in Calais housing some 800 migrants was broken up by French police on Friday following reports of violence against officers.

The operation, which involved hundreds of police officers, saw around 500 migrants — mostly from Sudan and Iran — loaded up on to 25 buses and sent to immigration facilities across the country.

The dismantling of the migrant camp came amid concerns that the migrants may seek to establish a permanent base at Calais, one of the favoured launching points for illegal migration into Britain, yet again.

“The number of migrants present on this site has increased considerably in recent weeks. Several hundred migrants are currently listed there, including about thirty children,” said the prefecture in a press release.

Just days prior to the dismantling of the Calais camp, violent brawls “involving about thirty people” erupted among the migrants, some of whom were armed with “axes and golf clubs”, BFM TV reported.

Some 50 police officers were brought in to quell the mayhem, firing some 400 canisters of tear gas in order to disperse the migrants.

One officer told the French news channel that the migrants were staging “coordinated operations,” saying: “We saw migrants with headphones communicating with each other by phone.”

Following the outbreak of violence, the Mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchard and Xavier Bertrand, the president of the Hauts-de-France region called for the dismantling of the camp.

“It is a private wasteland, squatted since this winter, which continues to grow, with today more than 500 migrants and for which planning permission has been issued. I asked for its urgent evacuation, because that there are violent people, who wage war (…) and that the planners want to regain the hold “of the place, the mayor said.

François Guennoc, of the Auberge Des Migrants association which gives aid to migrants on the ground, said that the camp had “been built up little by little”. He said that there are currently around 1,500 supposed asylum seeker camping in Calais, including 800 from the dismantled camp.

The previous incarnation of the Calais ‘Jungle’ camp was also riddled with violence and crime, forcing police to treat areas of Calais  “no-go zones” after dark. At its height approximately 10,000 migrants were living in the camp.

In October of 2016, a female reporter was robbed and raped at knifepoint by three migrants from the Jungle. The reporter was working as a translator for a documentary focusing on the widespread child abuse in the camp.

Knife and bat-wielding migrants also repeatedly attacked passing by cars, vans, and lorries, in some cases even with chainsaws.

Recent reports have pointed to increased control of the Calais migrant route to the United Kingdom by organised criminal gangs, with as many as 100 separate people-smuggling gangs currently operating in France.

In May, a former people trafficker in the region said that the British government’s feeble attempts to secure the border have only served to increase the control of the mafia.

“Prices went up with each new bout of security spending,” the unnamed people-smuggler said.

“A growing obstacle course on the border made crossing alone impossible for migrants. This attracted mafia groups who studied the controls and found ways around them, knowing what desperate people would pay for these ways.

“We thank your government for our full pockets,” he gloated.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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