World Bulletin / News Desk
Just a month after French riot police cleared out several makeshift migrant camps in Calais, officers moved in early on Wednesday to shut down the main squat. Officials' tough stance on the migrants, most of whom hope to get to the UK, has drawn criticism from humanitarian groups.
Riot police moved in early Wednesday with tear gas and evicted some 100 people from the main migrant camp in Calais, who had set up home there in between attempts to smuggle themselves into the United Kingdom.
The BFMTV reported that around 100 migrants were taking refuge inside a squat at the Channel port, that doubles as a feeding centre run by local charities, when officers encircled the building around 6:30am. Three hours later police had cleared out the building as well as several other nearby locations that had housed migrants.
A witness described the chaotic scenes that unravelled as officers moved in.
"I was inside when the cops arrived, they blocked all the exits and used tear gas to keep people from escaping," a charity volunteer Celine, who provided only her first name, told BFMTV. "People were sleeping, they didn't have the time to get out."
After Calais authorities argued the camp a court near by Lille authorized the operation that had been operating since May. The camp didn't have adequate sanitation facilities and was on its way to becoming a long-term shelter, which the city opposed.
Local humanitarian groups said that many of the migrants, that were being carried away in 15 buses by the riot police, were from war-torn countries.
"Twenty or so women and roughly 10 children were sleeping at the site in last couple days," Christian Salomé from charity group Auberge des Migrants told reporters. "The migrants come from countries that are at war. It's very bad that all this happened out of the public eye."
People from war-torn countries such as Syria and Egypt sent a rush of people to Calais, where migrants wait for a chance to smuggle themselves to Britain.
Humanitarian groups said that violent eviction by police must end, because it's clear the migrants aren't going to stop coming.
“We have to take into account the reality of the situation and this zone is a part of a circuit for people seeking asylum in Britain. It’s not going to stop tomorrow,” said Jean-Claude Mas, secretary general of immigration support group La Cimade told The Local previously. “Instead of discouraging people who have nothing to lose, and who are willing to do anything to make the crossing at Calais, why not get organized?”Last Mod: 02 Temmuz 2014, 16:58