Police use water cannon, tear gas to disperse migrants storming passing trucks in Calais (VIDEO)
According to the prefecture of Pas-de-Calais, migrants threw projectiles on the road and at the vehicles that pass through the motorway to slow traffic and get inside the trucks, hoping to cross the border into the UK in them. Local paper La Voix du Nord reported that there were about a hundred migrants at the scene.
“The Calais Road Service intervened to evict migrants from the motorway leading to the port and allow the traffic to be restored. Riot police had to use tear gas,” the prefecture stated.
Clashes near the motorway in Calais have happened before, with migrants who live in the refugee camp nearby trying to pass into the UK.
Their efforts, as well as their discontent with life at the camp have been intensifying lately, after the French government decided to limit the size of the 'Jungle', a temporary home to some 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.
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.
Most Jungle residents, whose overall numbers likely exceed 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.
Earlier on Wednesday, police evacuated nearly 1,000 migrants from ‘Stalingrad’ subway station in Paris, where those who gave up on their hope of crossing the English Channel set up a makeshift camp beneath elevated train tracks.
The Paris operation was peaceful, with no major disturbances reported, and authorities offered migrants temporary lodging and help applying for asylum, according to a statement from France's Interior Ministry.