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Migrants armed with sticks hold up truck driver in Calais

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Migrants armed with sticks hold up truck driver in Calais
Migrants standing near the Calais motorway. File photo: AFP
12:32 CEST+02:00
A group of migrants hoping to reach the UK ambushed a truck driver in Calais in an attempt to use the vehicle to cross the border, footage shows.

Four men, two of whom brandished large sticks as weapons, laid tree branches across the motorway in order to trap a truck, Le Figaro reported on Wednesday.

One of the men signalled to the driver to stop, while the others ran towards the truck.

The driver was named by Belgian TV channel VTM as Marc Mombaerts.

He told the channel: "The men said if I lifted my foot from the brake pedal, they would break my windshield," and said the men continued to brandish the sticks at him in a threatening manner.

VTM showed footage of the incident (which can be seen here), which took place in the early hours of Monday morning.

Mombaerts said this kind of blockade was commonplace on the journey, that it has been going on "for weeks and months" and that "every night" he dealt with similar problems of migrants blocking roads in the hope of climbing onto the vehicles while they were at a standstill.

Many of the migrants in the Calais 'Jungle' camp hope to reach the UK, often trying to travel in trucks, and there have been previous reports of violence; in April, a group of motorists was reportedly attacked by migrants at a rest stop.  

Work is set to begin next month on a giant wall, funded by Britain, which aims to block migrants from trying to jump aboard lorries heading for the port of Calais. However, aid organizations say it is a waste of money and "nothing will deter" the migrants from attempting to reach their desired destination.

Some have even used small boats to try to cross the Channel. Travelling in road vehicles is not without risks either; in December, a group of 19 migrants was found dead in a cement mixer truck at the Belgian border, having presumably hoped it would take them to the UK.

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