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Calais 'Jungle' camp demolished

October 25, 2016

Riot police have surrounded the squalid camp, allowing clean-up workers to tear down make-shift homes. Thousands of migrants have been bussed out of the settlement but some are digging in their heels amid evictions.

Frankreich Jungle Calais wird abgebaut
Image: Reuters/P. Rossignol

French police moved into Calais' makeshift 'jungle' migrant camp on Tuesday as workers began demolishing tents and shacks on day two of a week-long operation.

Orange-clad workers used electric saws and earth-moving equipment to tear down plywood cabins, tarp-covered sheds and other temporary buildings in the squalid camp.

The sprawling encampment, home to 10,000 people during the summer, has been used as a launching-point for attempts to reach Britain.

The camp became a symbol of Europe's migrant crisis, as mostly Afghans, Sudanese and Eritreans, filled the camp to bursting point.

Dozens of people have been killed nearby over the past year in near-nightly attempts to climb onto trucks and trains heading across the Channel.

French authorities are in the second day of a massive operation to clear the settlement where an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 migrants remain.

Workers piled discarded mattresses, blankets, clothes, pots and suitcases on top of wood and plastic sheeting after riot police carrying shields sealed off the area.

Aid workers and government officials previously went tent-to-tent to ensure they had been cleared.

Former residents of the camp have been bussed to accommodation centers throughout France where they can apply for asylum.

Some 16 buses had left the center by midday, carrying more than 650 migrants, a regional spokesman said.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told the lower house of parliament in the afternoon that more than 1,000 had been sheltered on Tuesday.

On the first day of the operation 1,918 adults and 400 unaccompanied minors were taken to different areas of France amid some hostility from locals.

Thousands of migrants have been evacuated already.
Thousands of migrants have been evacuated alreadyImage: picture alliance/dpa/J. Mattia

'Massive arrival'

Two dozen young Sudanese asylum seekers received a frosty reception in the eastern wine village of Chardonnay on Monday.

"This massive arrival of migrants, it's inappropriate," said resident Joelle Chevaux.

Elsewhere people turned out in solidarity for the migrants, with rallies attracting some 200 people in Paris and 250 in the western city of Nantes.

However, not all "Jungle" residents are ready to give up on their mission of reaching the UK. Sudanese migrant Ali Othman, 18, smoking a cigarette outside his tent, was among those who vowed he would not leave voluntarily.

 "Whatever the French police do to me I will not apply for asylum here," he said. "They can detain me, jail me, throw me out on the street. I still want to go to Britain."

aw/ (AFP, dpa, AP)