David Courbet, Yahoo! News, July 28, 2015
Attempts by migrants desperate to reach England through the Channel Tunnel reached a new peak overnight, as about 2,000 migrants tried to enter the Eurotunnel terminal in the French port town of Calais.
“It was the biggest incursion effort in the past month and a half,” said a spokesman for Eurotunnel, which is battling often deadly efforts by migrants to smuggle into Britain.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, on a trip to London to discuss the migration issue, confirmed the figures, telling AFP: “There were some arrests and it all passed off without a fuss.”
By Tuesday evening calm had returned to the Eurotunnel premises, which are usually bustling with hundreds of migrants waiting to seize their chance to cross over.
For several weeks, there have been many attempts by large numbers of migrants to enter the Eurotunnel premises.
Security at the Calais port was stepped up in mid-June, driving migrants who previously tried to stow away on trucks that take ferries across the Channel to try their luck smuggling through the undersea tunnel.
The migrants were trying to enter the site “between midnight and 6:00 am,” the Eurotunnel spokesman said.
“All our security personnel, that is nearly 200 people, as well as police were called in,” he added.
A French police source said the migrants did not try to force their way all at once, and that the figure of 2,000 related to the total number of incursion attempts–not of migrants.
Since the beginning of June, eight migrants have died trying to enter the tunnel.
The port at Calais has been mostly closed since June because of a dispute between ferry staff from France’s MyFerryLink and the Eurotunnel group, which owns the boats.
Many migrants have tried to take advantage of the backed-up traffic to jump onto trucks making their way towards the harbour.
According to the last official count in early July, around 3,000 migrants, mainly from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and Afghanistan, were camped out in Calais.