Calais Migrant Crisis: 350 Refugees Evicted as Police Deploy Tear Gas and Use Digger to Bulldoze Tents
Callum Paton, International Business Times, September 22, 2015
French police have used tear gas, violence and a 10-tonne Volvo bulldozer to evict migrants and destroy shelters created by 350 mostly Syrian refugees in four separate camps across Calais.
In morning raids, riot police forcibly evicted the predominantly Syrian, but also Eritrean and Sudanese, refugees from a warehouse in an industrial estate in Calais at the Paul-Devot hangar and an adjoining garden, where they had set up camps.
Elsewhere in the port city, which has become home to roughly 4,000 migrants, riot police yesterday (21 September) smashed the shelters of refugees and migrants living below a bridge and also evicted them from a church where some had been living for up to a year. Humanitarian groups working in the area have claimed at least one man was hospitalised in the ensuing police violence.
Maya Konforti, from the humanitarian group L’Auberge des Migrants, said she deeply regretted the decision of the authorities to evict the refugees just as colder weather had set in and she railed against the heavy-handed police tactics.
Konforti explained that the mix of refugees and migrants in living in the areas outside the area’s main ‘Jungle’ camp had permission to be there, with the exception of the garden. She explained that those who had little to begin with had lost most of their belongings in the raids.
French officials have said the evictions were necessary because of health concerns but with the Jungle– an informal camp of a dozen hundred or so tents on the edge of Calais–close to capacity and with floods caused by recent heavy rain, Konforti does not see how they will fair better now their dwellings have been destroyed.