France: Calais ‘jungle’ camp refugees clash with police ahead of demolition drive

New York [US], Oct. 24 : Residents of 'The Jungle' in Calais, a French refugee camp, clashed with police as the government prepared to close the settlement.

Late Sunday night, riot police were out in force and some 1,250 police personnel have been called in to prevent crowd control problems on Monday.

The camp houses around 6,000 to 10,000 migrants and refugees living in as French authorities begin the evacuation of the patch of wasteland in a bid to improve security.

Dozens of migrants began queuing early at reception points where they will be processed and bussed to refugee centres across France, reports CNN.

The government has offered them two choices: claim asylum and move to another area of France, or return to their countries of origin.

Many are reluctant to register as refugees in France because their preferred destination is Britain. But there is concern that some migrants will refuse to go because they still want to get to Britain, and there have been some clashes over the weekend.

The UK has begun to accept some of the estimated 1,300 unaccompanied children from the camp. From Tuesday, heavy machinery will be sent to clear the tents and shelters that have been left behind.

The whole operation is expected to take three days. The French interior ministry said it "does not want to use force but if there are migrants who refuse to leave, or NGOs who cause trouble, the police might be forced to intervene." The Jungle has played host to scenes of both squalor and of violence, as migrants, mainly from Africa and the Middle East, attempt to board lorries bound for the UK, clashing with drivers and police in the process.

A UK-funded one-kilometer-long wall is being built along the main road to the port in an attempt to deter would-be stowaways.

Source: ANI