French police in riot gear on Wednesday removed about 800 migrants from Asia, the Middle East and Africa occupying a camp in northern France as a deadline for the migrants to leave the camp expired.
Police moved in on the camp in Calais, where some migrants set up shelter after fleeing war zones, including in Syria and Sudan, and are seeking asylum in either France or Britain. Calais has ferries that transport goods and people from France to southern England. The camps were sealed off early Wednesday morning, Associated Press reported. There has been a history of migrant camps in Calais, and an agreement between Britain and France led to the closing of the camp in 2002, when 2,000 refugees occupied the area.
Ten humanitarian groups said the actions by French police were not constructive. "The situation in Calais is deteriorating in a deafening silence. Despite having repeatedly warned the public powers of the threat to public health that this situation is causing, no proper response has yet been proposed," they wrote, according to the Guardian.
Jean-François Corty of the humanitarian group Médecins du Monde said he was “scandalized and furious” over the forced evacuations. “They evacuate and everything starts all over again,” he said. “A few months, a few years after the evacuation, everything is the same.”
The migrants refused to move to an undisclosed location after being asked to do so by French police, Matthew Adt of Médecins du Monde, told CNN. The migrants also are not complying with police instructions to shower and clean their clothes amid fears of a scabies outbreak. Adt said the migrants worry that their camps will be destroyed and they will have nowhere to go.
An Eritrean migrant told the BCC that he tried to board a ferry in Calais and cross the English Channel, but was stopped by police. “I will try again and again,” he said.
Migrants rebuffed attempts by police to get them to board buses so they could be moved to another area in northern France, the BBC reported.