Riots in France as migrant camps get demolished

By Shawn Price   |   Feb. 29, 2016 at 10:35 PM
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PARIS, Feb. 29 (UPI) -- Migrants clashed with demolition teams Monday as they tore down huts in a migrant camp known as the Jungle in the French port city of Calais.

At least 12 shacks burned as migrants threw rocks. Police reacted with tear gas as the demolition teams moved through the camp, leaving some inhabited huts alone, but in an overall effort to relocate migrants to official refugee centers.

The migrants are mostly from the Middle East and Africa, and many from the camp have tried to stow away on trucks that pass on the highway next to the camp, trying to get on a boat that will take them across the English Channel. Many have employed people traffickers to help them cross illegally.

Rioters cluttered the road with debris Monday night, before police were able to clear it and arrested one person and three members of the No Borders activist group.

Officials told residents they had an hour to pack up and leave the camp before their wood and tarp huts were going to be demolished.

The official refugee camps are made up largely of shipping containers. Migrants are also reluctant to go to official camps out of fear of getting stuck in France.

Amnesty International tried to pressure the French and British governments, saying they were obligated to the people they evicted, and should help provide access to asylum for those requesting it in France or in acquiring visas for refugees with family members in England.

"Although it's taking place across the Channel, this is not an issue that the UK can wash its hand of," said Amnesty International's Europe and central Asia director, John Dalhuisen.

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