Eurotunnel services disrupted as asylum seekers storm Calais terminal
Around 200 people broke into the tunnel located in the northern French port of Calais connecting the continent with Britain on Friday night.
The asylum seekers clashed with police and railway staff, which caused the suspension of rail services, a spokesman for Eurotunnel said.
Eurotunnel services resumed on Saturday morning, as final security checks were carried out. Passengers, however, were warned about possible delays. Traffic is being currently diverted through the reopened M20 motorway.
We are about to resume service in both Tunnels and will begin to resume the full timetable as quickly as possible.^LD— Eurotunnel LeShuttle (@LeShuttle) October 3, 2015
The whole group has been removed from the tunnel with police reportedly arresting 23 people in clashes that left six injured.
"This is something new. We have never been faced with something like that. Their determination and aggressiveness are growing," a police source told Reuters.
The group of migrants and refugees was labeled as “large” and “very co-ordinated”. “Such a large group had no chance of reaching the UK, so this was clearly an organized attack aimed at drawing media attention to the desperate situation of the migrants who are stuck in Calais,” Eurotunnel said in a statement.
“They ran through the terminal, knocking some staff to the ground and throwing stones at them,” the Eurotunnel spokesman said.
“There are some minor injuries to staff and also two police officers. They were treated at the scene by paramedics.
“It's clearly an organized attack when it comes in such a large number. They arrived together and in a well-organized manner broke through the fences and all clearly knew where they were going.”
Good morning, due to an intrusion on our French terminal by a large number of migrants, our service is temporarily suspended. 1/2 ^LD— Eurotunnel LeShuttle (@LeShuttle) October 3, 2015
This is not the first incident of its kind. Nearly 2,000 migrants made an attempt to breach the tracks at Calais in July, forcing British and French authorities to re-introduce emergency measures.
Eurotunnel had to demand compensation from both the French and the British governments for the losses caused by the disruptions.
Migrants from a camp known as the “Jungle” located just outside Calais, have long been trying to get access to the Eurotunnel and, therefore, Britain. They often hide in lorries or trains going from France to Britain.
Jungle is a makeshift camp where some 5,000 people displaced from Africa and the Middle East are living in dire and insanitary conditions.