Refugee aid convoy bound for Calais blocked by ‘authoritarian’ French border authorities

© Pascal Rossignol
A 250-vehicle aid convoy from Britain to Calais this Saturday is facing a last-minute ban by French authorities.

The convoy, carrying “phenomenal” amounts of aid intended for refugees, is likely to be stopped from boarding a ferry to the French port by border control at Dover.

Organizers say they have been contacted by London’s Metropolitan Police, who informed them French authorities have banned the convoy from crossing the border.

The organizers say they are doing all they can to get the decision overturned, including asking Prime Minister David Cameron to intervene.

“It’s adding insult to injury, leaving refugees in a perilous state in Calais and then denying aid and solidarity on a false pretext,” organizer Weyman Bennett of Stand up to Racism said.

Sam Fairbairn, of the People’s Assembly, added: “This is Europe, there is supposed to be free movement of people. It’s unacceptable that we can’t even get across the Channel to deliver aid to desperate people.”

The organizers have vowed to defy the clampdown, asking supporters to demand passage on the ferry which has been book and paid for.

If the convoy is turned away at the ferry terminal, organizers say they will stage a mass protest at the “undemocratic and authoritarian” decision.

“It is more important than ever that we go ahead and show the strength of feeling and support for refugees. If the authorities still refuse to let us cross the Channel we will be holding a protest in Dover.”

A recent Amnesty International report suggests that 70 percent of the public think the government should be “doing more to help those fleeing war and persecution.”