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'Jungle' camp clearance to resume after night of violence

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Photo: AFP
07:52 CET+01:00
Police and workers were set to continue their operation to tear down part of the 'Jungle' migrant camp in Calais on Tuesday following a night of violence in the northern port town.

Trouble had flared late on Monday afternoon after workers moved in and begin dismantling makeshift huts in the southern part of the camp.

When a small group of refugees and migrants began throwing stones at the workmen police responded with tear gas. Several huts were also set ablaze as part of the protest.

Police withdrew but on Monday evening the trouble flared again when around 100 migrants broke onto the road that leads to the port and tried to break into trucks.

Images showed migrants, some carrying sticks, placing obstructions in front of trucks as they made their way to the port

Witnesses told Europe1 radio they threw stones and debris at lorries in the dark to bring them to a halt so they could then sneak into the back in the hope of reaching the UK. One witness said some were carrying knives.

 

Cars were reportedly forced to stop by the side of the road, some with smashed windscreens, others with burst tyres.

“It was like a scene from guerrilla warfare, they were stoning the cars. They came towards us pointing knives,” a young unnamed woman told Europe1 radio.

Riot police eventually gained control of the road by firing teargas to clear the migrants. But the highway towards the port was reduced to one lane throughout the night out of concern that groups of migrants would continue to try to reach the trucks.

Tuesday promises to be another tense day in the 'Jungle' camp as workers accompanied by police resume the clearance of the southern part of the camp.

Migrants living in that part have been ordered to take up accommodation in the converted shipping containers in another part of the camp or accept being moved to a “welcome centre” around France.

Most are reluctant to accept the offer as they believe it would effectively end their chances of seeking asylum in the UK.

"We are carrying out our orders so that the migrants leave the camp and we will continue this work this morning... so that the destruction work can continue calmly and that the migrants are not under pressure from the No Borders activists," said local authority head Fabienne Buccio on Monday.

She accused No Borders activists of threatening staff who had been sent to the camp on Friday in a bid to convince migrants to leave the camp for official shelters.

Story continues below…

Buccio said three-quarters of the shacks in the southern half of the camp were now empty after a French court approved the demolition on Thursday.

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