‘Jungle’ camp must close to stop mass attacks by migrants – Calais mayor to RT

A migrant walks past makeshift shelters in the northern area on the final day of the dismantlement of the southern part of the camp called the 'Jungle" in Calais, France. © Pascal Rossignol
The mayor of the French port city of Calais is urging the government to completely dismantle the notorious ‘Jungle’ migrant camp as soon as possible. She has joined hundreds of protesters rallying for the closure of the troubled facility.

Natacha Bouchart, who has served as Calais mayor since 2008, has joined French truckers, farmers, police and others calling for the demolition of the refugee and migrant camp. Bouchard estimates 9,000 immigrants are now living in the ‘Jungle’. Locals as well as drivers moving through the area complain of regular attacks by the camp’s population.

“We demand the fastest possible dismantlement of the camp, before the end of the year, and it should be done once and for all. We do not want to tolerate anymore these constant attacks and the negative image of Calais… We want the government to react, as so far it has not done enough to resolve our problem,” Bouchart said in an interview with RT’s Polly Boyko. She added that Calais locals are sick and tired of migrants entering their gardens every night, attacking drivers and breaking the law in various other ways.

The protesters have blocked the road leading to and out of the port in an action that has been dubbed ‘Operation Snail’ since it is expected to cause major traffic disruption. The demonstrators’ only goal is to see the camp finally dismantled.

Bouchart is blaming the government for the unfolding crisis. She believes that the French legal system needs to be changed to make it possible to prosecute migrants committing such acts as those seen in Calais.

“French law is not adapted to these types of attacks. And when it comes to mass attacks involving 100, 200, 300 migrants, the law does not allow us to arrest or condemn all those people. We have a serious problem in France and the government needs to modify the whole range of judicial laws to allow to detain and expel the wrongdoers,” Bouchart said.

Bouchart is sure that the only way out is “regulation and strictness,” which could be achieved if the authorities sent the army to the city to control the 9,000 migrants at the camp. Currently the camp residents “do what they want and how they want, no matter what part of the day it is,” she said.

“I am scared for local people due to the attacks happening. Locals have seen enough of it and they fight with immigrants sometimes with fatal outcomes. We have seen many migrants lose their lives and I do not want my population to suffer the same,” the mayor concluded.

Up to 80 trucks and 150 tractors are participating in the blockade of the key motorway to and from the port in Calais. Nearly 200 farmers are expected to join the protest as they claim the migrant influx has destroyed crops and damaged their farms.

Last week, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve pledged to destroy the ‘Jungle’ camp, although he warned the process should move gradually, “in stages” to give the authoritites enough time to create new accommodation for the thousands of asylum seekers still living in the camp.

According to the August census carried out by border law enforcement officials, 6,900 people are residing in the camp. Meanwhile, local humanitarian aid groups L’Auberge des Migrants and Help Refugees counted more than 9,100 people in their own census the same month.

In June, Bouchart spoke out for reviewing the border agreement with the UK following its decision the leave the EU.

According to the deal, France carries out all border checks in Calais and is responsible for detecting trespassers willing to get to the UK.

The mayor of Calais suggested that the refugee camp on the French side of the English Channel should be relocated to the UK so that the British