More French police to contain UK-bound Calais migrants

Amid escalating unrest among migrants trying to enter Britain from the port of Calais, the French government will send an additional 100 police officers to bring an end the clashes, the Interior Minister announced.

Bernard Cazeneuve told French local newspaper La Voix du Nord that reinforcements would bring the total number of officers to 450. Of those sent, 70 will guard the port while the remainder will protect the town.

“The aim is for trucks to be able to move more freely, to avoid them being mobbed, and to strengthen controls while also ensuring the security of migrants who are themselves in danger,” Cazeneuve said.

Over recent months, more and more migrants have streamed into the French port town, in the hope of getting to the UK. Over 2,000 are now thought to be living in Calais, compared with 1,500 just a few weeks ago.

French police are trying to stop migrants from illegally entering the UK, which has resulted in violent clashes in recent days.

Migrants walk near their camp in Calais on October 23, 2014 (AFP Photo / Philippe Huguen)

The migrants descend on an area in the port where trucks wait to be checked before they board ferries bound for the UK. French police this week used tear gas to disperse hundreds of migrants trying to scramble on to vessels.

Most of the migrants have arrived from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan, while others have fled conflict zones in Syria and Libya. Illegal camps have cropped up around the town. On Monday, clashes erupted between the Eritrean and Ethiopian camps.

On Wednesday, dozens of people were injured as security forces attempted to block migrants from crossing the English Channel.

The death of a 16-year-old Ethiopian girl, who was hit by a car on Monday while crossing a motorway, further escalated the situation and fuelled tensions.

READ MORE:UK govt to pour nearly £12 mn into France for immigration crackdown help

Britain has agreed to contribute £12 million ($19 million) to help control the situation.