Fights and shots: In Calais, tensions are escalating among migrants. Despite the hard line of the police, people continue to gather there who want to enter the UK illegally.
After heavy clashes between migrants in Calais, France has ordered additional riot police into the port city. Interior Minister Gérard Collomb lamented an “unprecedented extent” of violence. The situation for the inhabitants of the city on the English Channel was “unbearable,” he said on the night of Friday. “We can not let the rule of the strong rule in our country.”
African and Afghan migrants had clashed on Thursday several times – it also shot, on men were seen with sticks armed men. The Prefecture of the Pas-de-Calais county reported 21 casualties and five migrants suffered gunshot wounds. Four of them were critically injured and one person was still in danger on Friday. “We’ve seen war scenes, I do not understand,” said an aid worker at BFMTV.
Despite eviction still refugees live in the “jungle”
The Home Office said that an Afghan had probably shot at a group of Eritreans. How it came to the clashes, is not yet clear. Interior Minister Collomb, however, said that they were not “spontaneous phenomena” and suggested a connection with the activities of Schleuser gangs. According to the regional newspaper “La Voix du Nord”, he said on Friday morning that there had been no arrest so far.
In Calais, migrants have been gathering for years to illegally enter the UK. The state cleared a huge unofficial refugee camp known as the “Calais Jungle” in October 2016 and has since prevented the emergence of new miserable camps. The port from which ferries leave for Dover is strictly shielded – recently London France had paid about 50 million euros for new border protection measures. Nevertheless, according to estimates, several hundred migrants live in the region, according to aid organizations in very precarious conditions.
State wants to take over food delivery
François Guennoc of the organization Auberge des Migrants pointed out in the station BFMTV that smugglers in Calais tried to control important places for the migrants. Salam President Jean-Claude Lenoir spoke to Franceinfo of bitterness among migrants, which he attributed to “daily harassment” by the security forces. The organizations repeatedly accuse the police of acting too hard against migrants and taking away tents. “This tension has an impact: it leaves traffickers free.”
Collomb replied to the critics that the balance of the argument could have been even worse if the police had not intervened. He had arrived that night for a hastily scheduled visit to Calais and announced that two additional riot police companies would arrive in Calais on Friday. To prevent similar incidents in the future, the state will soon take over the food distribution to migrants, which is currently supported by aid organizations. Collomb again asked the migrants to go to reception centers in France: In Calais, there was no solution for them.