Riot police, migrants clash at French camps

  • 11/11/2015

Clashes have broken out between police and migrants living in temporary camps near the northern French port of Calais for a third night running.

Riot police used tear gas and water cannon to end an hour-long stand-off with the migrants, who started by throwing objects and insults at officers before lighting a wooden pallet on fire.

"Two-hundred-and-fifty police officers, of which the majority were CRS (riot police), were mobilised on Tuesday (local time)" to end the disturbances around the migrant camp, dubbed the "jungle" in France, said interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet.

Long a source of tension between Paris and London, the migrant population in Calais doubled between June and August as Europe struggles with its worst migrant crisis since World War II.

Most migrants enter the bloc seeking refuge in Germany or Sweden, but others have continued their journey to France in the hope of somehow crossing the Channel.

An estimated 4500 people now live in makeshift camps outside Calais, from where they try to make their way to Britain by sneaking into trucks or storming the Eurotunnel rail link to London.

France has stepped up security after violence broke out this week, prompting migrants to resort to disrupting traffic on the Calais ring-road.

They have "often entered the property of local residents to obtain objects that can be used to block the trucks on the ring road" leading to the port, head of the Pas-de-Calais region Fabienne Buccio told a press conference.

Sandy, a resident who lives close to the migrant camps, said: "We no longer feel at home – we live with our windows and shutters closed. We cannot even go into the garden with our children."