War in the streets.
France sends in reinforcements: At least 150 riot police arrive in Calais after gangs of armed migrants set up blazing road blocks to stop trucks in an attempt to climb aboard and head to Britain
- France dismantled the Jungle camp in October displacing some 8,000 migrants
- They were dispersed around the country but there were fears they would return
- Video footage shot from lorry shows gangs running after trucks trying to get in
- Experts feared a surge of violence this summer as migrants returned to Calais
By Peter Allen In Calais and Gareth Davies In London For Mailonline, 13 June 2017:
Police reinforcements including at least 150 riot control officers have been drafted into Calais as UK-bound migrants set up burning roadblocks to stop lorries.
They use the motorway obstructions to get lorries heading to England to stop, so they can climb aboard and hide until reaching their destination.
The tactics have been used at least three times in as many weeks, with images shot in the early hours of June 9 showing rubble and branches piled up on the A16 in Calais.
A Polish HGV driver who regularly travels between his home country and Britain posted a video of the incident online, and it shows gangs of mainly young men running along the busy road brandishing weapons and trying to climb into lorries.
It is all part of a deteriorating security situation in the French port town which has led to 150 CRS (Republican Security Companies) new officers arriving.
‘Local forces have asked for more support, and we have responded with a new detachments of CRS,’ said an Interior Ministry source in Paris.
‘The exact number of police in the Calais area is not released publicly, but a large number of personnel are in place to maintain security.’
These include soldiers and specialist anti-terrorism teams, as well as regular National Police and gendarmes, said the Interior Ministry source.
It was in October last year that some 8,000 would-be asylum seekers were evacuated from Calais following the destruction of the so-called Jungle shanty town.
Since then everything has been done to stop them returning, with a zero tolerance approach to new settlements.
Migrants climb in the back of a lorry on the A16 highway leading to the Eurotunnel in Calais
But with temperatures reaching 25C, more migrants are arriving, and resuming their efforts to get across the Channel.
The prefecture which covers Calais estimates that some 300 are currently sleeping rough in the area, while charity groups say the figure is more like 600.
‘The barricade of June 9 was by a slip road off the motorway,’ said a prefecture spokesman.
‘Police arrived very quickly and the obstacles were withdrawn. There was no serious traffic disruption, and no arrests.’
But a police source said ‘dozens of well organised migrants’ were behind the trouble, and it was continuing night after night.
‘We had to deal with it for years before the Jungle was destroyed, and now it’s starting up again,’ said the police source.
‘As the weather gets warmer, there will be more of this.’
Charities have complained the police are trying to stop food and water hand-outs to the migrants, but in turn the police say they have to carry out Interior Ministry orders.
The situation was expected to be among subjects discussed by Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Tuesday.
Mrs May was a frequent visitor to Calais during her time as Home Secretary and has pledged to help make the ferry crossings and Channel Tunnel watertight to migrants.
There are fears that the passionately pro-EU Mr Macron will try and move border checks back to Britain as Brexit talks approach.
This could lead to camps like the Jungle springing up on the south coast of England as the French allow vast numbers of asylum seekers to travel straight to the UK.