• France's news in English
Calais fears summer chaos as migrants up bids to reach UK
Riot police guard the motorway that leads to the port of Calais. Photo: AFP

Calais fears summer chaos as migrants up bids to reach UK

AFP/The Local · 20 Apr 2016, 07:47

Published: 20 Apr 2016 07:47 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Migrants from the Jungle camp in Calais used tree trunks and branches to block roads into the northern French port early on Tuesday as officials warned they were stepping up attempts to reach Britain.

Over the past three weeks, there has been a sharp increase in migrant attempts to stow away in the back of lorries which then board ferries or shuttle trains to England, officials say.

Such attempts have stoked tensions with the police after a period of calm following last month's dismantling of part of the sprawling Jungle camp.

"Migrants once again attempted to slow down the traffic by placing branches on the road to obstruct lorries heading to the port of Calais," a spokesman for authorities in the Pas-de-Calais area told AFP.

"Migrants are cutting down and putting branches, and even tree trunks, on the road and they are operating simultaneously in several places."

Police unions fear the rise in incidents heralds a difficult summer as the flow of migrants into Europe begins to pick up again and some try to reach Britain, where they believe their chances of finding work are highest.

The concern is that their numbers will be depleted in June and July because officers will be deployed to Euro 2016 football matches in the northern cities of Lille and Lens.

"I fear a rise in tensions and more and more problems because thousands of migrants are arriving in Italy, even if some are going back to Turkey. My colleagues have had enough because there is no solution," said Bruno Noel from police union Alliance.

Story continues below…

Another union representative, Gilles Debove, said two units of riot police were overstretched as they tried to unblock the roads.

"Everyone pretends everything is fine in Calais, but it's just not true. I'm choosing my words here, but the situation is still a hell of a mess," said Debove of the SGP Police-Force Ouvriere union.

French and British charities say nearly 5,000 people remain in the Jungle, but the government says that figure is vastly inflated.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

France sees biggest drop in jobless rate for 20 years
Photo: AFP

Good news at last. But it's unlikely to keep President François Hollande in his job.

Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Photo: AFP

Some in France have shown solidarity with their new guests, while others have made it clear they are not welcome.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
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
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available