Burning down the Jungle: Makeshift Calais camp is torched by migrants following a day of violence by
Migrants have started to torch the notorious Jungle camp in protest over the demolition of the site, leading to clashes between angry protesters and police.
As the flames tore through the light timbers and canvas of the buildings, some migrants called for the demolition to stop, with one woman protesting on the roof of one of the buildings.
She warned police not to approach when they moved forward to arrest her male companion as around 100 makeshift homes in the so-called ‘Jungle’ were torn to the ground yesterday, with bulldozers likely to continue their work all this week.
Earlier, AP reported the woman, thought to be from Iran, had followed through on a threat to cut her own wrists when approached by police.
Meanwhile, migrants brandishing metal bars and hurling rocks tried to hijack lorries today as demolition workers supported by riot police carried on smashing up their illegal camp.
It has led to many of the migrants trying to get to Britain as quickly as possible, forcing traffic to a standstill on major roads while trying to get on board HGVs.
‘Gangs broke out of the camp overnight, and started threatening drivers in the middle of the road,’ said a Calais police spokesman.
‘Tear gas and baton charges were used to restore order, and then the gang members were forced back inside the camp.’
At least 12 shelters were set ablaze by the refugees yesterday, during disturbances involving left-wing agitators from the UK.
Three members of the so-called ‘No Borders’ group were arrested for inciting the migrants to attack the police.
At least one unidentified woman from Britain was among those arrested during a day of violence in the French port town.
She was seen in front of a mob of mainly Afghan refugees hurling bricks and stones at officers who fought back with tear gas.
A second woman – a German who identified herself as Ronia – said she had ‘no regrets’ about ‘offering resistance on behalf of the refugees’.
As Ronia was handcuffed, and placed inside a police car, she said: ‘Everyone in the camp has a right to a home and a future.’
The worst trouble started soon after demolition workers supported by CRS riot police arrived at around midday yesterday.
It followed a court order last week that gave the French authorities the legal right to destroy the south side of the sprawling shanty town.
Fabienne Buccio, the Pas-de-Calais prefect who ordered the ‘dismantling’ of the camp in the first place, turned up at the start of the operation.
She attacked left-wing groups such as No Borders for ‘manipulating migrants’ and using their problems for political ends.
Mrs Buccio insisted that many of the homes being demolished had ‘already been evacuated’ and were ‘full of rubbish, not people’.
Kazim Lahr, a 22-year-old Afghan refugee, said: ‘We expected them to move in this week, but the number of police is astonishing.
‘We have been told to get out of the south side of the camp, which is where all our homes and restaurants are. We have nowhere else to go.
‘Me and my friends are preparing to stay here, as our only intention is to get to Britain. The French treat us like animals, but the British will not.’
Tensions were high as bulldozers continued dismantling the southern half of the Jungle camp, which has become a magnet for people hoping to reach Britain.
Roving teams were trying to convince the inhabitants to leave of their own volition and move to better accommodation provided for them, but many fear it will take them further from their goal of reaching Britain, with clashes erupting.
'We have already seen prison and torture, this doesn't scare us,' a migrant told one of the teams.
There are currently more than 3,000 people from war-torn countries living in the south side of the camp.
Some have been offered accommodation in converted shipping units in the north side, but there are not enough to go round.
The units are behind security fences, and all those who apply for a heated unit have to supply palm prints.
‘They are like prisons – very few of us want to go there,’ said another Afghan migrant, who asked to be referred to as Ali, 25.
The ‘evacuation’ of the Calais camp is expected to carry on all this week, and the police are braced for more violence.
The evicted migrants have been offered heated accommodation in refitted containers set up next door to the camp, but many are reluctant to move there because they lack communal spaces and movement is restricted.
They have also been offered places in some 100 reception centres dotted around France.
The demolition of the Jungle comes ahead of talks on Thursday between French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron and the existence of which has played into fraught discussions about Britain's possible exit from the EU.
Some opponents of 'Brexit' say that if Britain were to leave the EU, the British government would lose the ability to call on France to stop the refugees from trying to make their way across the Channel.
( Source )