1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

French protesters demand Calais migrant camp closure

September 5, 2016

Protesters have blocked a major highway in northern France to demand the closure of the "Jungle" migrant camp in Calais. They said the protest would continue until authorities set a date for dismantling the camp.

Frankreich Protest der LKW-Fahrer für die Auflösung des Flüchtlingscamps Jungle
Image: Getty Images/AFP/P. Huguen

Truckers, farmers and local business owners on Monday blocked a major highway in northern France to protest against the "Jungle" migrant camp in Calais.

The protesters blocked the A16 highway, a route used by freight and passengers crossing to Britain via the Eurotunnel and Calais port. Organizers said the protest could last several days.

The more than 7,000 migrants living at the Calais migrant camp have raised tensions with locals and transporters. Migrants from the Middle East and Africa hope to be smuggled into to Britain from the camp.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazneneuve said Friday the camp would be dismantled "in a controlled operation," but protesters want authorities to set a date.

"We've had no answers, so we're blocking things up," said Frederic Van Gansbeke, who represents businesses and shop-owners in Calais.

Transporter workers are frustrated by migrants' attempts to sneak on their trucks to cross the English Channel.

Frankreich Flüchtlingslager Jungle in Calais
Image: Getty Images/AFP/P. Huguen

"Every day, we have to wonder whether our working day will be ruined, whether a migrant will sneak under the truck's canvas," said Nicolas Lotin, who runs a logistics company. "If the goods are damaged, they have to be immediately transported back to the home depot," he said.

France has tried several times to close down the huddle of tents and temporary shelters, but the camp has only grown this summer with new arrivals.

Charities say there are as many as 10,000 migrants in the camp. They oppose the government plan to close the camp, arguing it will exacerbate problems.

cw/jil (AFP, AP)