French Police Remove Nearly 1,500 from Makeshift Camp Near Dunkirk

TOPSHOT - Migrants gather next to French gendarmes during the evacuation by police forces of a camp occupied by homeless migrants in Grande-Synthe, Northern France, on November 16, 2021. - The forces of order began on November 16, 2021, the dismantling of a camp of about a thousand migrants in …
DENIS CHARLET/AFP via Getty Images

Police in Grande-Synthe near Dunkirk, France, have removed nearly 1,500 migrants from a makeshift camp and have promised further evictions in the coming days.

The operation to clear the makeshift camp, which was located in an industrial area in Grande-Synthe, was undertaken on Tuesday at the order of French Interior Minister Gérald Damanin, according to Georges-François Leclerc, the prefect of the northern region.

“This morning, the border police proceeded to arrest 13 traffickers. During the evacuation of the camp, about 30 other traffickers, criminals, or suspected smugglers were arrested,” Leclerc told French media, according to newspaper La Voix du Nord.

The removal lasted until around 2:30 in the afternoon, with French authorities reporting that 663 migrants accepted the offer of alternative shelter and were transported via a total of 23 buses to accommodation centres in various regions across France.

Prefect Leclerc stated that there would be more operations coming in the next several days in the area of Dunkirk.

Interior Minister Darmanin commented on the successful operation on Tuesday, saying: “This morning, the dismantling of a network of smugglers in Dunkirk resulted in the arrest of 13 migrant smugglers, bringing the total to 1,308 since January. These smugglers are criminals who exploit human misery and are responsible for irregular immigration.”

Dunkirk, along with Calais and other areas along the northern French coast, is a starting point for migrants looking to cross the English Channel to the UK.

Over the last year, the UK has seen record numbers of migrants crossing illegally from the French mainland, with last week seeing a new daily record when over 1,000 illegals crossed into the UK from France, beating the previous record of 853 that was set just days prior.

In September, Brexit leader Nigel Farage called the surge of migrant arrivals a “national humiliation” saying: “It’s out of control, Border Force has completely lost control of this and they know it and they admit it. I said months ago that it would be at least 20,000 this year. If the weather stays good it’ll be 30,000, next year 50,000. This is out of control.”

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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