Shacks lit to protest their evictions and threw rocks at police officers in riot gear, who pushed the migrants back with water cannons and tear gas. About 100 policemen were deployed to protect the site.
Francois Guennoc, an activist with all the Auberge des Migrants, an organization in Calais that helps migrants, said in a telephone interview the scenario was “quite anxious” and that there was “certainly no further trust” in the authorities because it had not delivered on its promise to evenly evacuate the camp.”The destruction of the shantytown isn’t the remedy,” Mr. Guennoc said.
“That will not remove their job to go to Great Britain,” he said of the migrants, noting that crossing the English Channel via ferries or the Channel Tunnel had become incredibly challenging but not hopeless. Their intent to dismantle the southern half of the camp was declared in February by the French authorities.
An estimated 3,700 migrants are in the camp, although humanitarian organizations working with them say the amount is considerably higher.
Most are attempting to reach Britain, where they will have an improved knowledge of the language family ties and simpler accessibility to the job market. The dismantling comes ahead of a meeting on Thursday between President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain.
The camp in Calais has turned into a critical problem in the broader European migration disaster as well as in relations between both nations.