Clashes between the French police and migrants living in the so-called “Calais Jungle” continued for third night in a row.
France24 reported that riot police used teargas and a watercannon to end the clash with the refugees and migrants, who threw objects against the police forces. French Interior Ministry spokesman, Pierre-Henry Brandet, said that “two-hundred-and-fifty police officers, of which the majority were CRS (riot police), were mobilised on Tuesday.”
According to the French website, local government official Fabienne Buccio said that Calais residents who live near the makeshift camp said that they experienced for the first time, theft and other damage caused by some of the people who live in the Calais camp.
“We are going to deploy security forces so they are visible to the local community,” said Buccio and added that “there have not been physical confrontations but the migrants have often entered the property of community members to get objects to block trucks on the ring-road.”
Four days ago, French authorities announced that this week the Calais makeshift camp will be turned into a smaller permanent facility and thousands of people will have to to abandon the site. “Our goal is that no more migrants sleep outside in campement de la lande (Calais Jungle),” said Buccio.
The new facility will be able to accommodate 1,500 people and according to British daily the Independent, up to 2,000 refugees will be evicted. Calais authorities plan to move some 400 evicted people to a local shelter for women and children. However, the rest of the people, were encouraged to leave and seek shelters at “reception and orientation centers (CAD)” elsewhere in France, according to Buccio. “A hosting solution is now available to all,” the Calais official claimed and said that approximately 1,895 people have already agreed to relocate.
According to Independent, community leaders inside the Calais camp told French President Francois Hollande that they will resist authorities and stay in the camp. “We, the United people of the jungle, Calais, respectfully decline the demands of the French government with regards to reducing the size of the jungle,” they said in a statement and added. “We have decided to remain where we are and will peacefully resist the government plans to destroy our homes. We plead with the French authorities and the international communities that you understand our situation and respect our fundamental human rights.”
Refugee and migrants in the Calais camp want to stay in the northern French port city as they want to enter the neighboring UK through the British Channel. A state official told AFP news agency, that the reduction of the number of migrants in Calais will provide better security for thousands of lorry drivers, who cross the Channel and face the risk of being attacked by the people in need, who desperately want to enter Britain.
“The priority is to distance migrants one hundred meters from the ring road, for their own safety, the safety of road users,” the official said.