It took barely two hours to clear ‘the jungle.’ Resigned and bewildered, there was little resistance from those who called the camp home.
Their dream of crossing the Channel over, for now, more than 270 mainly Afghan men and boys were led away. It was mission accomplished for the French authorities. But, with the closure of the makeshift camp near Calais announced in advance, many more migrants fled prior to the police’s arrival. Their whereabouts is unknown. Charity workers formed a human wall around those who remained and there were scuffles as security forces moved in. Opponents say the raid is just a cosmetic move and will do nothing to deter illegal immigrants from seeking a new life in Europe. With nearly half of those detained self-declared minors, volunteers who have helped support them were horrified at how the men in uniform moved in. The young people have not shown the slightest sign of violence, according to Sylvie Copyans of the Salam migrant support group. “They are kids. You don’t treat children like that.” French authorities say an individual solution will be found for each migrant – whether a voluntary return home, an asylum request or explusion. In the meantime, they have destroyed the tent city that developed after the closure of the Red Cross camp at nearby Sangatte in 2002. Many believe the migrants will soon be back.