Truckers block Calais to demand closure of migrant camp
05 September 2016, 19:39
Calais - Truckers, dockworkers,
farmers and merchants are blocking a major highway in northern France to demand
the closure of the Calais migrant camp known as the "jungle," as its
population surges and tensions rise.
authorities are urging travellers to
avoid the area in hopes of limiting disruption from the Monday morning
blockade, aimed at paralysing traffic on
the route used to access the Eurotunnel and port.
Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced on Friday that the government would
dismantle the camp "in a controlled operation" as soon as possible,
but protesters want him to set a date.
currently home to at least 7 000 migrants from the Middle East and Africa
trying to reach Britain, has epitomised
the challenges of Europe's migrant crisis. Authorities have tightened security
and closed half of the camp, but the migrant population has reached record
are frustrated by migrants' attempts to hop into their vehicles to slip across
the English Channel, and local businesses say the migrants have become an
economic drain on the city. They are blocking the A16 highway, which is used by
European transporters to reach Britain via Calais.
local administration issued a statement on Sunday urging people to avoid
non-essential travel to the Calais area throughout the day.
groups warn that a hasty shutdown of the camp would scatter the migrants,
aggravate the city's troubles and worsen the humanitarian drama. While the camp
conditions are dismal, migrants have access to food distribution, showers and
government says about 7 000 migrants are living there, while aid groups
estimate that there are more than 9 000.