Around a dozen migrants and refugees on Friday boarded one of the first buses transporting people from the ‘Jungle’ camp near Calais
After Thursday’s court ruling that French government plans to dismantle the southern part of the camp could go ahead, people were on Friday being told to clear their tents and leave.
“Here, they will not fight, but I’m not sure they will leave because they say, ‘where we will go?’ One theme emerges every time, it’s ‘we didn’t come here to stay in France, we want to go to England and we are free to choose our country’,” said Zimako, a migrant who was involved in founding a school inside the ‘Jungle.’
The French authorities said earlier this week that 800-1,000 people would have to leave under the demolition plan. Officials said they will be offered shelter near the camp or elsewhere in France.
But aid organisations said that the number of people affected will be far higher.
“There are 3,000 people, the government says there are 1,000. The government has 1,000 places, not 3,000. Where will the other 2,000 go?” said Mayka Konforti, a volunteer with Auberges des Migrants.
Humanitarian groups have also been warning that forced evictions would breach the migrants’ fundamental rights and worsen the plight of some 350 to 400 minors in the camp, some of them unaccompanied.