Calais port puts operations on hold after crowd of migrants breaks in, attempts to board ferry
23 January, 2016
Some 200 migrants have broken into the port of Calais in, northern France, with several of them boarding the front deck of a British ferry, media reported. The port has put its operations on hold warning of delays to ferry services.
"A demonstration in Calais has drawn around 2,000 people and in the end around 200 people entered the port, with approximately 50 of them boarding a ferry, the 'Spirit of Britain', on an external deck," deputy Calais prefect Denis Gaudin told Reuters.
The Port of Calais has been temporarily closed due to a migrant invasion, as soon as they are cleared the Port will re-open
He added that some of the migrants agreed to leave the vehicle voluntarily while the others would be removed by police, who is ready to use force.
According to some reports, migrants failed to board the boat as the staff managed to block all the doors.
Port of Calais is still resolving a security incident.As a result our vessels are delayed until such time as given the all clear to load.1/2
The Spirit of Britain vessel belongs to P&O Ferries who also confirmed the incident on their official Twitter warning of delays in the service.
The incident followed a pro-refugee rally organized by French leftists which gathered about 2,000 people. The activists carried banners reading “refugees welcome here” and said that an increased security presence in the Calais region is a threat to migrants’ lives.
The demonstration came as British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn visited the Calais Jungle and Grande-Synthe (Dunkirk) refugee camps. The British politician expressed his concern with living conditions in the refugee camps and said that the refugee crisis is caused by wars and conflicts.
“What I'm trying to achieve here is to understand the nature of the refugee crisis that's facing the whole of Europe. Ultimately we deal with the situation by dealing with the problem at its source, which are the wars and conflicts,” Corbyn said as cited by the Independent.
“We have got people here who have been here for months, if not longer than that, with no proper education, no access to doctors, no access to dentists, limited access to food - in very cold, very wet conditions. These conditions are a disgrace anywhere. We as human beings have to reach out to fellow human beings,” he added.
The refugee camp known as “Jungle” was established in Calais last year. Up to six thousand migrants and refugees live in the camp for months at a time, hoping to cross the English Channel to seek asylum in Great Britain which seems for them a better place to start new life than France.
The UK, however, is not so eager to accept their many attempt to cross the channel illegally – primarily through the Eurotunnel. Since the eruption of the migrant crisis in Calais in June, dozens have died in or near the tunnel.
French officials have recently started to demolish a part of the refugee camp to create a “buffer zone” between the Jungle and the highway in order to protect thousands of lorries from migrants.
Calais On Lockdown After 100s Of
Migrants Storm UK-Bound Ferry
Update: 35 ppl arrested, including 24 refugees after storming ferry at Calais port Via @BFMTV
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Coinciding with UK's Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn's arrival at the French refugee camps, Sky News reports the port of Calais has been temporarily closed as 100s of migrants stormed on to a ship in the hope of reaching the UK. About 50 migrants are thought to have made their way on to a P&O-operated vessel called Spirit of Britain, and police are at the scene and have reportedly deployed water cannons to break up the crowds of protesters.
DFDS Seaways tweeted: "The Port of Calais has been temporarily closed due to a migrant invasion, as soon as they are cleared the Port will re-open."
The shut-down follows a protest march in support of the migrants that was reportedly attended by 2,000 people.
Authorities in France said a group of 500 people illegally forced their way through barriers and police lines, 150 migrants were able to get into the cordoned-off area.
A statement from the Port of Dover said: "The Port of Calais is currently experiencing migrant activity which has caused disruption to ferry services. Therefore services to and from Calais via the Port of Dover are affected."
The latest incident coincides with Jeremy Corybn's visit to the migrant camps in Calais and Dunkirk where thousands of people are sleeping rough - his first foreign trip as Labour leader.
He said the conditions would be a "disgrace anywhere" - and that thousands of people were living in a "sea of mud".