Police oversee dismantling of giant migrant camp in France

PARIS -- Under the eye of hundreds of riot police, workers began pulling down tents and makeshift shelters in the sprawling camp in Calais on Monday, dismantling the fragile structures that have served as temporary homes for migrants hoping to make their way to a better life in Britain.

See Full Article

A flashpoint on the edge of the Channel, the camp sprang up less than a year ago in the port city, which has both ferries and the Eurotunnel rail route to Britain. It has grown explosively in past months amid Europe's migrant crisis, fueling far-right sentiment in both Britain and France. Some 4,000 people are estimated to live in the camp -- down from 6,000 in December.

Calais has lived with migrants in its midst for years, but the current camp on the city's edge sprang up around a day centre opened last April by the state -- and after small camps inside the city were bulldozed. The dismantling of the dense southern portion of the current camp would be the largest such operation the city has known.

Scores of riot police stood guard, keeping journalists and volunteers out as helmeted workers tackled the shelters one by one.

Prefect Fabienne Buccio, who had ordered the camp evacuated and dismantled earlier this month, showed up as the operation began.

"Really three houses out of four -- I mean three huts out of four, or three tents out of four -- were already totally abandoned with a lot of garbage inside," she said. Migrants, she said, "had the time necessary to gather their belongings. The rest was good enough to throw away."

However, cameras zooming into huts captured scenes of daily life fully intact.

The start of what is likely to be a weeks-long operation came four days after a court ruled that shelters could come down -- but not common areas like houses of worship, a school, a women's centre and library, much of it built with the help of French and British volunteers appalled by conditions in the makeshift camp.

Humanitarian groups and migrants who had contested the state decision to level the most populous sector of the camp filed an appeal to the ruling on Friday with the Council of State, but any decision is likely to take weeks or months, long after the camp is gone.

French authorities are offering to relocate uprooted migrants into heated containers installed last month nearby, or at centres around France where they can decide whether to apply for asylum. Many have resisted the move, fearing it will hurt their chances of reaching Britain, and some migrant advocates say there isn't enough space in the new area.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • White House press secretary Sean Spicer: 'Our intention is never to lie'

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK - White House press secretary Sean Spicer told a roomful of reporters that “our intention is never to lie to you,” although sometimes the Trump administration may “disagree with the facts.” Spicer’s first full press briefing was closely watched Monday following a weekend statement about President Donald Trump’s inauguration audience that included incorrect assertions. Source
  • Federal Court of Appeal dismisses First Nations' challenge of Site C dam

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER - The Federal Court of Appeal has dismissed a legal challenge filed by two First Nations of the $8.8-billion Site C dam project in northeast British Columbia. The Prophet River First Nation and the West Moberly First Nations appealed a Federal Court judge's decision to deny their application for a judicial review of the project's environmental approvals. Source
  • Saint John councillors to vote on removing racist word from place names

    Canada News CTV News
    Councillors in Saint John, N.B., are expected to vote on whether to remove the word “negro” -- long considered to be racist and a relic of the past -- from at least three place names in the city. Source
  • Vancouver woman killed in traffic accident in Thailand

    Canada News CBC News
    A Vancouver woman was killed in a traffic accident in Thailand and a fellow traveller seriously injured. Ali Lambert, 20, died from her injuries, her father Doug told CBC. Canadian consular officials say they are providing assistance to the family as well to relatives of another Canadian who was injured. Source
  • Dutch PM, trailing anti-immigration lawmaker in polls, says integrate or leave

    World News CBC News
    Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte sought to lure voters away from anti-immigration lawmaker Geert Wilders, as campaigning for the March 15 national elections heated up on Monday. In a full-page newspaper message, Rutte said "we have to actively defend our values" against people who refuse to integrate or act antisocially. Source
  • The ‘alternative facts’ of life

    World News Toronto Sun
    “Just the facts, ma’am,” Det. Joe Friday used to say on Dragnet, when I was a pup. Back then, the world was as black and white as our TV shows. Facts were facts. The truth was naked, unvarnished, unbent and gospel. Source
  • Amber Alert issued in U.S. for B.C. girl, 9, believed to be with mother

    Canada News CTV News
    Police in New Westminster, B.C., say that an Amber Alert has been issued in the United States for nine-year-old Makayla Estrada-Weber. Police said in a press release that Estrada-Weber was taken by her mother, Wilma Estrada, during a custody visit, and that they crossed the international border. Source
  • SNL's Katie Rich suspended for Barron Trump tweet

    World News Toronto Sun
    An outraged Twitter mob is calling on NBC to sack Saturday Night Live writer Katie Rich following an egregious attack on Donald Trump’s youngest son, Barron. Rich targeted the 10-year-old in a “disgusting” tweet on Inauguration Day, writing: “Barron will be this country’s first homeschool shooter. Source
  • ’No reason to believe’ Dunphy violent, officer tells inquiry

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The Newfoundland police officer who says Don Dunphy aimed a rifle at him before he shot him three times saw no conflict in sending an email explaining his actions to the lead RCMP investigator. Source
  • Pipeline breach southeast of Regina leaks 200,000 litres of crude oil

    Canada News CTV News
    STOUGHTON, Sask. -- A pipeline has leaked about 200,000 litres of crude oil onto agricultural land in southeastern Saskatchewan. Government spokeswoman Kathy Young says the spill site 10 kilometres north of Stoughton is in a low-lying area with a frozen slough. Source