• France's news in English

UK-bound migrants rush aboard trucks in Calais

AFP/The Local · 17 Sep 2014, 15:24

Published: 17 Sep 2014 15:24 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Police in France's northern port of Calais fired tear gas on Wednesday on migrants trying to force their way onto trucks in a desperate bid to get to Britain after they threw stones at security forces.

The incident is the latest in a series of confrontations between asylum seekers and authorities in the port, which trucks go through to board ferries bound for Britain.

The port is struggling to stem a tide of illegal migrants trying to cross the Channel to Britain, which they see as having a favourable asylum policy, despite a slew of recent measures including tighter security and policing.

Authorities in the Pas-de-Calais department where the port is located said some 250 migrants grouped together just outside the port on Wednesday morning. One of them fell while trying to get onto a truck and hurt his head.

When an ambulance arrived to take him to hospital, a big group of migrants tried to stop the vehicle from driving him away, they added.

They then tried to prise open wire fencing to get into the area where trucks are checked before they board ferries and threw stones at police, who responded with tear gas, authorities said.

By early afternoon, the situation had returned to normal.

The problem in Calais is not new, and illegal camps of migrants have sprung up in the area since French authorities closed down the infamous Sangatte immigrant detention centre in 2002.

Story continues below…

But the crisis has spiralled, prompting the city's mayor Natacha Bouchart to threaten to shut down the port entirely in protest at London's perceived lack of action or help over the problem.

Britain has since offered to send over the strong security fences used at a recent NATO meeting in Wales.

French authorities have already arrested around 7,500 illegal immigrants trying to cross the Channel this year, and security has been ramped up.

AFP/The Local (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Is Marks & Spencer to close Champs-Elysées store?
Photo: AFP

Is it goodbye to crumpets, jam, and English biscuits?

After Calais, France faces growing migrant crisis in Paris
Photo: AFP

While all the focus has been on the closure of the Jungle in Calais, France must deal with the thousands of migrants sleeping rough in Paris. And their numbers are growing.

Restaurant boss suspected of kidnapping Cannes millionaire
The Nice residence of the president of Cannes' Grand Hotel, Jacqueline Veyrac. Photo: AFP

A restaurant owner 'harbouring a grudge', apparently.

Le Thought du Jour
Vive le pont - The best thing about French public holidays
Photo: AFP

The UK might have guaranteed public holidays, but France has "les ponts".

What's on in France: Top things to do in November
Don't miss the chocolate fashion show in Lyon. Photo: Salon du chocolat

The autumn is in full swing in France, and there's plenty to do.

What Paris 'squalor pit' Gare du Nord will look like in future
All photos: Wilmotte et Assoicés

IN PICTURES: The universally accepted 'squalor pit of Europe' is finally getting a facelift.

Halloween: The ten spookiest spots in Paris
Is there really a ghost on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower? Photo: AFP

Read at your own peril.

Halloween holiday in France: Traffic nightmares and sun!
Photo: AFP

But it's great news for the country's beleaguered tourism industry.

French MPs vote to make Airbnb 'professionals' pay tax
Photo: AFP

Do you make a lot of money through Airbnb in France? You'll have to pay a share to the taxman in future.

France and Britain accused of abandoning Calais minors
Photo: AFP

Scores of young migrants are forced to sleep rough for a second night.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
How speaking French can really mess up your English
The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
jobs available