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Riots in Calais: Refugees Torch Two Trucks, Threaten Drivers

© AFP 2023 / PHILIPPE HUGUEN Migrants stand next a fire burning shacks, in the southern part of the so-called "Jungle" migrant camp, as half of the camp is being dismantled, in the French northern port city of Calais, on March 1, 2016.
Migrants stand next a fire burning shacks, in the southern part of the so-called Jungle migrant camp, as half of the camp is being dismantled, in the French northern port city of Calais, on March 1, 2016. - Sputnik International
Another terrifying round of arson and fighting between migrants and security personnel occurred last night. Coco, team member of 'Angry Calais Residents' (Calaisiens en colère), told Sputnik the details of last night’s riots; meanwhile, a volunteer from a humanitarian organization insisted that the refugees were 'completely harmless'.

“Last night, clashes with illegal immigrants took place in public, urban areas. Refugees actually attacked people with bats and threw stones at them. They set two cars on fire, resulting in police interference. Residents have no other choice but to protect their homes on their own,” said Coco, a member of Calaisiens en colère, a self-defense organization comprised of embittered locals.

Such clashes occur nearly every day.

This time, the French police placed a truck to block the migrants from entering the tunnel. This provoked a savage response from the violent outsiders.

“The truck was set on fire last night, where illegal immigrants had set up a blockade, piled trees, stones and so on. After they began to throw bottles with an inflammable mixture to burn down the barricade, they also hit the truck. And it appears that they attacked the driver with a saw that was in their hands,” explained Coco.

The situation in the “Jungle” is deteriorating daily. Recently, the southern part was taken down, and refugees moved to the north part of the camp.

“Often these casualties happen as a result of recent changes. Migrants took up arms against each other, especially when they were all moved to the northern zone. However, they are completely harmless. They just want to leave, they don’t want to rest there for long,” explained a volunteer from “Land of Tramps” (Terre d’errance), a humanitarian association.

When the camp was torn down, the situation only worsened. The authorities closed shops and cafes, which in terms of food was a total disaster. Food is given away once a day for 3, 500 people, and there are 7,000 of them.

“The government is to blame for the current situation. President Francois Hollande is willing to accept more immigrants, who want to find shelter in France. Probably it is all about money. But anyway no one thinks about our well-being. Calais became an awful place to live in, and the government does not care,” said Coco.

“In addition, nothing changed after Brexit,” Coco said. “Only a few illegal immigrants want to move to England. The majority of people want to stay in Calais. They feel good here – they are fed and they are given shelter. They have everything they need.”

Officers of the Irish Navy ship Le Eithne rescue migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. - Sputnik International
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According to official data, only 4, 500 migrants are 'temporarily' living in the Jungle.  However, other estimates put the total at  9,000. This number is expected to swell to 10,000 by September.

Each day, between 50 and 100 migrants arrive in Calais with sleeping bags.

While some make it across the channel, often with the help of rival organized criminal gangs of smugglers, many stay.

Not everyone survives; some have died from hunger and disease, while others have been run over after attempting to cling to trucks in the tunnel under the English Channel.

In the last 15 days, four have died.

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