French authorities have finished clearing the shanty town known as the “Jungle” outside Calais, saying were confident of dispersing the last of its inhabitants around France.
Today it really is the end of the jungle, an important, powerful momentPrefect, Pas-de-Calais region
Some tents and shelters were set on fire in a last gesture of defiance but the operation was mostly peaceful.
The authorities said about 5,000 migrants had gone through a processing centre before being transferred away by bus.
“Today it really is the end of the jungle, an important, powerful moment. A lot has happened, an incredible human experience has taken place within this camp, with all its different communities. But we are turning the page now, and it is a positive page because these people are going to be welcomed in France and are going to be able to start a new life,” said regional prefect Fabienne Buccio.
About 1,000 migrants were said to be still awaiting transfer to other centres. Up to 8,000 people were said to have been living there before the clearance began, and it is feared some may have disappeared and may show up again in other parts of Calais.
The “Jungle” has been home to thousands of people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
They saw their future as being in Britain – which refused to accept the vast majority.
A group of African women staged a protest, saying they wanted to go to England to reach their families.
The UK is allowing in a number of unaccompanied child migrants who are being processed separately.