Another return to the makeshift refugee camp in Calais known as The Jungle revealed the CRS riot police are firing tear gas into the camp most nights. One young man was injured and taken to hospital after being struck in the head with a rubber bullet.
The argument from authorities is the gas and other “non-lethal” weapons are used to repel refugees from the fences on the motorway that leads to the port. But with a hundred metre no-mans-land between the camp and the road – created when that area between the camp and the road was cleared prior to the February 2016 eviction – it is hard to argue why multiple rounds of gas and rubber bullets need to be fired deep into the camp continuously for an hour, setting fire to tents and tarpaulins and forcing men, women and children to flee gas-filled tents.
The camp is said to house around 10,000 people now. Nearly 400 children have been registered but according to groups working with the children the full number is closer to 1000.
The UK government has been criticised for their delay in giving unaccompanied children sanctuary. On Friday 16 September this was compounded as a 14-year-old Afghan boy died after falling from a truck. He was the third child in a total of 18 refugee deaths to happen this year in Calais.
The boy had the legal right to travel to Britain because his brother already lived there and an application for papers to allow him to enter the UK was made several months earlier. Out of desperation because of the delays the boy returned to trying to stow away on lorries.
Recent response has been a port blockade by local workers, politicians, truckers and farmers. The blockade threatened to last all week long, but finished by 2.30pm local time the same day.
It was also claimed the blockade was not racist. I managed to find the leader of PEGIDA Netherlands, Edwin Wagensveld, marching with others, in a PEGIDA T-shirt, completely unchallenged.
The blockade called for the immediate demolition of the Jungle. What they got instead was a four-metre high, kilometre-long wall. The construction started yesterday.
This weekend, Saturday 17 September, saw some 20,000 people march through London, calling for the UK government to do more help refugees. My report for Associated Press focused on people’s opinions to what is being dubbed by some elements of the media as “The Great Wall of Calais”.
Report Digital Calais Refugee Catalogue
Calais Jungle Eviction 2016
A Brief History of the Calais Refugee Crisis
© Jason N. Parkinson/reportdigital.co.uk
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