Calais residents and local business people have called on the authorities to “ clean up” the refugee camp on their doorstep. Hundreds marched through the northern French city claiming the migrants are wreaking havoc in the port and putting off tourists. A spokesperson said rail and ferry passenger numbers have fallen by 40,000 in the last year.
“The economy of the town of Calais is suffering, the port is suffering, and I think it’s time that the situation has to be cleaned. And when I say cleaned, it’s that we have to take in consideration that these people coming from countries which are on war,” said Jean-Marc Puissesseau, who is President of the Port Council of Calais:
Demonstraters applauded police as they walked through the streets. To many the officers have become heroes who are working under difficult circumstances.
The police are frequently called on to marshal groups of migrants who break through security barriers and attempt any way they can to cross the English Channel.
On Saturday around 50 people illegally boarded a ferry bound for England and had to be removed. The incident followed a rally in Calais by some 2,000 migrants and their supporters.
The Calais camp is currently home to a few thousand migrants. It’s now generally known as “the jungle” due to its lack of facilities and increasingly squalid living conditions.
“Let them come to the UK”
On Saturday the leader of the UK’s opposition Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn called on the British government to allow many of the migrants living in the Calais camp to come to the UK. While on a visit he said “everyone who wants to come to Britain and has a connection” should be free to submit an application for processing by UK officials.
He later added: “It’s a very strange magnet of desperation (the camp), a fetid swamp with foul water, and people living in tents in the middle of winter shows the level of desperation – we’re talking 3,000 people. It’s not very many.”