World

Riot Police Tear Down Asylum Camps in France

Police expelled hundreds of migrants from makeshift camps in Calais. Authorities cite an outbreak of scabies as the reason to tear down their tents.

Riot Police Tear Down Asylum Camps in France
ITV
SMS

Police evicted hundreds of asylum-seekers in the French city of Calais Wednesday.

“They moved into the makeshift camps near where I am now …  Some of the supporters of the asylum seekers and refugees themselves were shouting at the bulldozers and the police to stop clearing the camp.” (Via ITV)

“The authorities said the evictions of at least 650 people were needed to deal with an outbreak of scabies in recent months. Most of them had traveled to the port in the hope that they could smuggle themselves across the Channel to the UK.” (Via Sky News)

The majority of them had traveled from Asia, the Middle East and Africa  This isn’t the first time France has removed migrants.  In fact, it’s reported that all around Europe camps are destroyed every few months as their populations rapidly inflate.

Several sources, including the BBC, The Independent and CNN, report there is little dialogue between police and the migrants, and therefore little room for long-term solutions. (Via Daily Mail)

BBC correspondent Paul Adams reports that same frustration is evident at the Calais camp—

“There have been some announcements on the loudspeaker telling people that they need to move on.  No one frankly knows where they’re supposed to go.  There’s some buses parked on a road just behind the camp. No one seems to know where those buses will take them.” (Via BBC)

Pierre Henry, the director general of the French advocacy group “Land of Asylum” sees both sides of the argument.  He told The Independent,

“The authorities cannot allow a health hazard in the centre of Calais, that is true. But no alternative is offered. The only possible solution is a proper EU policy on migration and more cooperation between Britain and France to choose which of these migrants are genuine cases deserving asylum.” (Via The Independent)

Local government officials told CNN authorities have offered to take the migrants by bus to places where they could shower and clean their clothes to prevent spreading scabies.  Also, migrants were told their immigration status would not be checked and no arrests would be made during the process. (Via itele)

Many of the migrants are hoping to find work in Britain, but they might find they’re not welcomed across the channel either.  The Telegraph reports this week Prime Minister David Cameron is drawing up legislation to discourage companies from hiring cheaper migrant labor.