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Calais migrants reject 'bland' food handout

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File photo of migrants queuing to receive food hand outs in Calais. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP
16:30 CEST+02:00
French cuisine is definitely not known for being hot and on Thursday some migrants in Calais turned down food handouts from a charity because they claimed it wasn't spicy enough for their tastes.

A charity for migrants in the French port city of Calais was forced to scrap a food handout after some refused the meal because it was not spicy enough, the group said on Tuesday.

Jean-Claude Lenoir, from aid association Salam, described Monday night's incident as "very disappointing".

"The leaders staged a small coup, and prevented the others from coming to eat," Lenoir said. He said the attitude was "unacceptable".

He admitted that the meal was "a lot less salty and not very spicy" compared with what was usually served but stressed that "personally, I think that spices are very expensive, and I find that they're a bit too pampered by now."

"As soon as 15 or 20 refused the meal, I stepped in to tell them if they didn't want the food we could put it away and that it was scandalous," he said.

He told them that "many people in France don't even have an evening meal" and that while they were "happy" to help the migrants, "there are limits with regards to what we can propose."

According to Lenoir, the incident passed off peacefully, and a few people sidled up afterwards to quietly apologize. Another meal distribution was to take place Tuesday evening.    

French authorities estimate that 1,400 to 1,500 illegal migrants, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, are waiting in Calais to seek asylum in Britain.

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In September, Britain agreed to help the French government cover the cost of the incoming migrants in Calais.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said London had agreed to contribute up to €15 million (£12 million, $19 million) after the Calais mayor threatened to close the busy cross-Channel port.

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