French refugee camp protest causes road chaos

Vehicles clog routes near Calais calling for removal of so-called Jungle camp housing thousands of refugees, migrants

French refugee camp protest causes road chaos

World Bulletin / News Desk

A go-slow protest to demand the closure of the so-called Jungle refugee camp in Calais, northern France has caused major travel chaos on roads near the northern port.

The A16 motorway -- the main artery for freight and passengers heading for Britain either via the Channel Tunnel or the Calais port -- was blocked as hundreds of trucks and tractors drove slowly to clog transport routes.

Calais residents, shopkeepers, police, labor unionists and farmers also formed a human chain across the road leading to the ferry port.

For them, the camp -- which local authorities say is home to between 6,900 migrants and refugees but campaigners claim houses more than 9,000 -- weakens the region’s economy.

Police have warned some camp residents that protesters could use violence and recommended refugee and migrants stay off the highway throughout the day.

One resident, Abdel, 27 said: "The police arrived at the Jungle on Sunday night to tell us not to leave our tents."

The mayor of Calais, Natacha Bouchart, who took part of the protest, told Europe 1 radio her city "did its part for humanity", claiming that it "did not need lessons from anyone on the topic”.

Last Friday, at a meeting with Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, Bouchart called for the immediate dismantling of the Jungle.

She said the minister expressed a commitment to a "total dismantling" of the northern zone of the camp but added that no date was given.

French authorities cleared the southern part of the camp in March.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Eylül 2016, 16:22