As migrants were led away from “the jungle”, the French immigration minister defended his government’s decision to close the makeshift camp.
Eric Besson has said an “individual solution” will be found for each of those evicted, whether a voluntary return home, an asylum request or explusion. “I have seen a number of people describe it as a pleasant humanitarian camp. It is not,” Besson told French radio. “It is the people smugglers’ base camp, where you find people who are exploited and victims of violence. You have chiefs and cliques. The law of the jungle reigns.” Asked if there are people smugglers in the Calais “jungle”, the minister said the main ringleaders are not there but hidden far away. “But they have “lieutenants” who are armed because they are organised and structured. They have attacked the police, local business people, residents in the Calais area. This chain of people smugglers must be broken and the network dismantled,” he added. With this in mind, Besson has pledged that other, smaller such camps will be destroyed in the days to come. Critics say this is a short-term solution, simply shifting the problem elsewhere. And, once the dust settles, many argue that migrants will return to set up a new “jungle” camp near Calais.