Truckers block Calais to demand closure of migrant camp

French merchants and residents block the main route into the Port of Calais as they await the arrival of a convoy of trucks protesting a refugee camp known as “the jungle.”

Truckers block Calais to demand closure of migrant camp

In February and March this year, French authorities dismantled the southern half of Calais' so-called "jungle" migrant camp and dispersed some of its inhabitants.

There have been reports of people traffickers employing extreme methods to reach the United Kingdom including throwing petrol bombs and blocking roads with trees before threatening drivers.

A member of Co-ordination Rurale, which had a convoy of 23 tractors taking part in the action, said French farmers are being badly affected by the migrant camp.

French farmers and truckers have converged on northern port city of Calais from the north and south in an effort to push for the closure of a refugee camp in the county.

The lorry drivers say they have seen increasing threats from organised gangs and migrants, who have been attempting to board vehicles to reach the UK.

"The camp needs to go", one added.

The ex-president, who signed the Touquet agreements in 2003, under which the United Kingdom border was established on French soil, also announced his intention to go to London "the day after" his re-election "to negotiate the conditions of a new Touquet agreement". FTA has asked for the camp to be be moved away from the port to prevent the ongoing attacks on truck drivers, and called for proper processing procedures to be put in place to ensure that genuine asylum seekers quickly receive the help they need.

Authorities have poured in police - about 2000 - to guard roadways, and built high barbed-wire fences to protect the Eurotunnel freight trains, the port and highway, but desperate refugees are using increasingly unsafe tactics to slow trucks and hitch a ride.

It could also lead to gridlock on roads in Kent if ferries stop running.

Local farmers frustrated about damage caused to their crops by inhabitants of the unofficial "Jungle" refugee camp have also joined in, and IRHA president Verona Murphy expects some Irish drivers will be caught up in the disruption.

EuroTunnel has advised travellers at Calais to find an alternative route to the terminal. She added that Calais locals are sick and exhausted of migrants entering their gardens every night, attacking drivers and breaking the law in various other ways.

Two convoys of trucks and tractors slowed traffic to a crawl on the main approach road to Calais on Monday in a protest against the impact of growing numbers of migrants disrupting the French port. It appears that the proposals made by the Minister were not enough to placate local Calais businesses and hauliers.

Reuters Up to 9,000 migrants are still living in the Calais jungle.

"We feel that the government and state are giving up and have completely forgotten us", said farmer Damien Van Haeche.

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