Calais ‘Jungle’ camp demolition resumes after night of violence (VIDEOS)
The operation to demolish the Calais ‘Jungle’ camp resumed on Tuesday afternoon after a brief break, following fierce clashes between migrants and police overnight.
Footage from the scene shows around 20 workers knocking down camp structures. Bulldozers can be seen nearby.
Thousands were seen queuing up for buses in the pre-dawn chaos – migrants of Afghan, Sudanese, Ethiopian and other backgrounds. “Bye Bye Jungle!” some shouted as the sun was still coming up, after a night of protests and clashes.
Camp-dwellers hurled rocks and other objects at security forces, as footage showed a nocturnal scene interrupted by pockets of orange from the fires started Monday night. It is unclear what the migrants used to set things alight.
There was a thick plume of black smoke rising up over one part of the camp Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday morning the bulldozers stood motionless. The AFP news agency reported that the demolition was halted, until more people could be ferried to their destinations.
"There will be no bulldozers, we will pick up waste," the prefect of Pas-de-Calais, Fabienne Buccio, said.
According to French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, as of Monday, 1,918 migrants had left Calais on buses headed for 80 accommodation centers across France. AFP reported some 45 buses had left the camp Tuesday morning.
Hundreds queued up in orderly lines with their belongings.
On Monday, protests overtook the camp, including marches by the various ethnic groups living there, attracting riot police. The protesters below can be seen making the cross-arms sign – a facet of Ethiopia’s Oromo protest culture – as they marched to the camp’s central office.
Amidst the chaos, the relocations continued Tuesday morning.
There were reports of one 13-year-old boy, whose leg was crushed in the commotion. An ambulance was called to transport the boy for treatment.
"We don't know yet where we are going, but it will obviously be better than the Jungle, which was made for animals not humans," said Wahid, 23, from Afghanistan, according to AFP. Many waved and smiled as they waited for what comes next.
The closure is to last three days, and will see the relocation of more than 10,000 migrants and refugees.
Under the regulations set forth by President Francois Hollande, migrants are to be dispersed into processing centers across the country, while the Jungle gets the axe. The authorities have tried to shut things down previously, but to no avail: the migrants either moved their tents or put up resistance.
However, months of border crime, local fears and prejudice, as well as a stagnant human rights situation have all contributed to the closure.
French authorities say those who have agreed to be relocated willingly may apply for asylum in France, while those who have not will face deportation. Despite this, there have been fears that demolishing the camp in Calais would only lead to more chaos and migrant tents sprouting up elsewhere.
The legal system in place, which would vet children with families in Britain, has not functioned smoothly, and there is a large backlog of minors still waiting to be reunited with loved ones in the UK. Over the past week, Britain had taken in more than 200 teenagers. Hundreds of others were still being interviewed on Monday, with many still awaiting a response Tuesday.
Another 400 migrants are being housed in provisional housing – basically, shipping containers – in a part of the Jungle where families had been living.
The first arrivals had begun to pour into their new homes in France, with the eastern village of Chardonnay throwing suspicious glances at the first two dozen Sudanese migrants arriving there Monday, according to AFP. The village will take in some 50 migrants, a quarter of its population.
"This massive arrival of migrants, it's inappropriate," said one local woman walking her dog. But hers is not the dominant voice – many other locations reported overwhelming support, and cities across France held pro-migrant demonstrations. In Paris, the Interior Ministry became the scene of a gathering of 200 people chanting: “Paris, Calais, solidarity!” Over in Nantes, another 250 showed up, the police say.