UK to send sniffer dogs, fences to Calais in bid to block migrants | News | DW | 01.08.2015
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UK to send sniffer dogs, fences to Calais in bid to block migrants

Britain is to send more fences, resources and sniffer dog teams to stop migrants from gaining access to the Channel Tunnel in France. UK PM David Cameron has warned that the migrant crisis will last through the summer.

Thousands of migrants in the French port of Calais have risked a dangerous, illegal passage through the Channel Tunnel in recent weeks.

French police said they had prevented more than 1,000 attempts by migrants to get into Britain via the Channel Tunnel on Friday. Thirty people had been arrested.

An additional 120 French police officers were sent this week to bolster the 300-strong police presence in Calais.

An estimated 3,000 people from countries including Syria and Eritrea are currently in Calais, trying to cross into Britain illegally via transport trucks and trains.

A spokesman for Eurotunnel, the Paris-based company which manages and operates the Channel Tunnel vehicle shuttle services, said there had been "much less disruption" since the police reinforcements had arrived. Four buses of riot police guarded the Eurotunnel entrance at Coquelles on Friday morning.

After an emergency meeting on Friday, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the current situation of "people trying to illegally enter our country" was "absolutely not acceptable."

French President Francois Hollande spoke with Cameron on Friday night about the migrant crisis in Calais. He said that "everyone must take responsibility" for the situation in the Channel port.

Britain would work "hand in glove" with the French police to stop migrants getting access to the tunnel terminals, Cameron said on Friday.

Also on Friday, Eurotunnel officials met with security officers at the French Interior Ministry. They confirmed that new high security fencing was to be put up around Eurotunnel platforms in Calais.

Port protests

Adding to the disruption on Friday were further protests by ferry workers at the port of Calais. They used burning tires to prevent access to the port, causing traffic to be blocked up to 11 kilometers (7 miles) on roads into the ferry port.

The 300 workers from French company Scop SeaFrance were protesting against plans to sell off ferries owned by Eurotunnel to rival Danish firm DFDS, a move expected to result in hundreds of job losses.

In July workers occupied two ferries, the Rodin and Berlioz, in the port of Calais in protest of their lease-sale to DFDS.

jm/cmk (AFP, dpa)

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