Angry Calais residents protest in Paris over migrant crisis (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)
Hundreds of Calais residents have arrived in Paris to protest against the deteriorating economic situation in their region, which they say has been caused by the migrant crisis. RT is accompanying the protesters.
“There were many tourists, not only English, but also Belgians. They no longer come. Tourism agencies do not encourage them to go to Calais. It's sad,” one of the protesters told RT France.
The demonstrators want to address French President Francois Hollande in particular on the worsening situation in their area.RT will feature the anti-migrant protest in Paris on Periscope.
“Calais is going to die,” one resident told RT, adding that the current situation is bad for the city, especially young people.
“We’re not racists. We understand they come from poor countries,” another resident added.
There is currently “war” in the city was another opinion. “The situation is dangerous for the whole world,” the resident said.
Calais residents have repeatedly said their lives have changed dramatically since the port city became a frontline in the current refugee crisis.
“The atmosphere is sad, it is oppressive. There is no more entertainment, nothing. People are afraid. They stay at home,” local resident Simone Héricourt told RT in February.
For one Calais businesswoman the migrant crisis “has a big impact on her business and private life. I want people who live in misery to be treated fairly, but I also want us to be allowed to do our own work, for tourists to come back and not to see Calais as a ‘Jungle’ camp,” she said.
Another protester added that the demonstration wants “to send a strong message to the French government and the whole of Europe to resolve the migrant situation and its consequences.”
In January, some 2,000 local residents and merchants staged a rally in defense of their city and their right to a peaceful life. The situation in Calais became so heated that one local resident was forced to defend his home with a hunting rifle after being harassed by migrants during a pro-refugee march.
Doctors Without Borders will open a new migrant camp near the town of Grande Synthe in northern France on Monday. The camp was set up without the approval of the French government.
According to the group’s coordinator, Angelique Muller, the charity has so far built more than 200 cabins of 275 planned "in the short term," which will house at least 1,500 people.
The new camp project was launched after French authorities ordered the demolition of part of the Calais “Jungle” camp, which served as a temporary home for over 5,000 asylum seekers. It was the largest makeshift camp in Europe and has gradually turned into a small town with its own social life.
Earlier in February, a court in Lille authorized the demolition of the “Jungle”, but commanded police to spare public facilities, such as mosques, restaurants and schools that have sprung up on the site. The text of the ruling said the eviction had been "carefully arranged and meets a real need."
Most “Jungle” residents, whose overall numbers likely exceeds 4,000, are from the Middle East, Africa, and Afghanistan. Most have traveled to France in the hope of crossing the English Channel to the UK, after having had their applications rejected elsewhere, or in expectation of better prospects in the country.