A day after France evacuated the coastal camp dubbed ‘the jungle’ the debris is disappearing, but the problem of illegal migrants looks set to remain.
Bulldozers are removing all traces of the tent city that was home to hundreds of mainly Afghan men and boys hoping to head to Britain. Some in the Calais area are happy the camp has been cleared. “After so many years, it is a relief”, said cafe owner Jean-Louis Tieusset. “At night we will be safer. There will be no more problems with them fighting among themselves. I think we will be able to sleep better now.” Despite widespread criticism of the operation, French Immigration Minister Eric Besson has defended his government’s decision to send in the police. Paris sees it as a step towards dismantling people-smuggling networks exploiting the most vulnerable. But images of riot police leading away sobbing Afghan youths have sparked indignation among refugee groups, opposition politicians, and much of the French press. And the warning is that despite the detention of more than 270 people, migrants hoping to head to the UK are bound to return.