Skip to Content

Calais

Calais mayor: ‘Don’t feed the migrants’

The center-right mayor of the French port city of Calais has banned charities from distributing food to prevent a new migrant Jungle camp on the edge of her city.

Published: March 3, 2017, 8:48 am

    Read more

    Natacha Bouchart has stepped in to stop aid groups from feeding migrants by approving new restrictions on Thursday. Bouchart said that she understood the situation “from a human standpoint,” but she was not going to give in to aid groups.

    Police are operating what they call a “zero tolerance policy” on migrants, rounding them up to send them to official accommodation centres elsewhere in France.

    After issuing an order to halt all food distribution on the site of the so-called ‘Jungle’ camp, which was demolished last October, Bouchart said long-term concerns are more important than immediate relief action. “We have suffered too much,” said Bouchart, a member of the center-right Les Republicains.

    Officials have already obstructed attempts by local charities to open showers for teenage migrants in the town, the Guradian reported. Charities and the local authorities are now locked in a court battle over the city’s moves.

    “It’s not a directive against the distribution of meals, but against gatherings because these lead to law and order issues as well as security and waste problems. I took this decision to make sure that no permanent base or squat is created around Calais,” Bouchart told AFP.

    Calais has become increasingly politically conservative and anti-leftist, turning to the FN since the original camp was set up in 1999.

    Utopia56, a humanitarian aid group, claim officers fired tear gas at volunteers and teenagers who were standing in line for food on Thursday. The charity told La Voix du Nord that they will continue to feed the migrants “for the simple reason that they are hungry,” even if they have to move their operation underground.

    Sarah Arrom, said police stopped them handing out breakfast to about 30 teenagers in a field near the motorway outside the city. “They wanted to stop the distribution and they wanted to stop people from sleeping in the area,” she said. “There has never been teargas before when we’ve been trying to hand out food.”

    Arrom said: “Conditions are becoming more and more problematic for the migrants. They don’t sleep, they can’t take a shower, they are more and more tired. We are really worried about their future.”

    Posters advertising the mayoral decree have appeared around the remnants of the ‘Jungle,’ explaining the new rules. Dated 2 March, it stated that the “regular, persistent and large presence of individuals distributing meals to migrants” in the area around the site of the former camp posed a threat to the peace and security of the area. It banned any “repeated, prolonged gatherings” in the area, in effect making food distribution an offence.

    New arrivals, predominantly from the Middle East, Africa, and the Indian subcontinent, are still pouring into Calais, with several charities reporting that they were busy feeding hundreds, and even thousands of people.

    Utopia56 is distributing 250 hot meals per night, a sharp increase on last month, most to recipients from Eritrea, Sudan and Ethiopia. Christian Salomé, the president of the Auberge des Migrants charity said no one had precise figures for the number of refugees around Calais, but “people are arriving all the time and not many are getting through [to the UK]”.

    At its peak, the population of the camp had reached 10 000, prompting heavily armed police patrolling the territory to protect inhabitants from the ensuing crime. A perilous criminal atmosphere has been recorded around the coastal city, also by tourists visiting from Britain.

    Inhabitants of the ‘Jungle’ were resettled in centers throughout France, but many failed to settle in their new designated accommodation, and have returned. Most were either failed asylum seekers or those planning to apply for refugee status in Britain.

    Some charities believe the new directive will not address the underlying factors that draw migrants to Calais, and that they are merely designed to mask the problem.

    “They are trying to make the refugees invisible, so they make it harder to distribute in town than the countryside. We can’t distribute at day so we have to do it at night. They are trying to push them out of sight,” Renke Meuwese, of Refugee Community Kitchen and Help Refugees, told the Guardian.

    “Adults will always find a way to buy food in the shops, but for minors, it will be a real problem – they have no money at all,” Christian Salome, president of the Auberge des Migrants charity, told the Guardian.

    Some 85 000 people applied for asylum in France last year, with Sudan, Afghanistan, Haiti, and Albania the most frequent origin countries. Nearly two-thirds of the applications were rejected. The overall number of undocumented migrants is likely higher, however.

    Government sources claim that the majority of the migrants are happy to claim asylum in France. However, only 22 per cent told the Refugee Rights Data Project they wanted to claim asylum in the country, with the majority saying they preferred Britain.

    France’s interior minister, Bruno Le Roux, during a visit to Calais on Wednesday ruled out any new migrant reception centre as it would attract even more migrants, he said.

    Paris and Corsica are exempt from the housing scheme for migrants as competition for a place to stay is already intense.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Europe

    The geopolitical future of Nordic countries

    Between unity and disunity, independence and foreign interference: Nordic countries have to either choose between creating an independent neutral block in the North, or seeing the region being divided between the great powers.

    Another arson attack on AfD in Berlin

    BerlinUnknown perpetrators have set fire to the car of an AFD member in Berlin. The police confirmed that the vehicle belonging to a party member in the district of Köpenick went up in flames shortly after 2 o'clock in the night of Friday.

    African who torched Italian schoolbus shows no remorse

    MilanThe African from Senegal who hijacked a schoolbus in Italy, terrorizing 51 small children on board, is not going to apologize for what he did.

    A farewell to arms – Ukraine’s corruption spirals out of control

    KievA chilling tale of how Petro Poroshenko's proxies fattened already exorbitantly priced low-quality smuggled spares. 

    Are the Ukrainian presidential elections ‘fake’?

    The Finish journalist Janus Putkonen has started an international petition to stop the Ukrainian elections. Although he is unlikely to succeed, Putkonen has nevertheless gained many supporters. In fact, they are so numerous that the platform Chance.org "purged" some 3 000 signatures over night.

    Are the Ukrainian presidential elections “fake”?

    Finnish journalist Janus Putkonen. Photo: SuppliedThe Finnish journalist Janus Putkonen started an international petition to stop the Ukrainian elections. It is unlikely to succeed, but Putkonen is gathering many supporters. So many, that the platform Chance.org “purged” over night 3,000 signatures.

    Serious fun – Russian pranksters shed light on events in Venezuela

    MoscowTwo Russian pranksters have exposed the greed driving the regime change project against Venezuela by the US State Department in daring phone conversations.

    African sets bus with schoolchildren on fire in Italy

    CremonaA 47-year-old African bus driver was held by Carabinieri police on Wednesday after he hijacked a bus with Italian schoolchildren and set the bus on fire. The Senegalese migrant tied the hands of the children with plastic electrical ties in an attempt to kill them, sources said.

    UK Catholic journalist may face prison for misgendering teenager

    LondonBritish police are currently dedicated to fighting "microaggressions" such as "misgendering" people on social media. Meanwhile, out of the 44 police forces, 42 have recorded a rise in knife crime since 2011.

    Turkish suspect detained in Utrecht terror attack which killed 3

    UtrechtA Turkish suspect wanted for killing three people in Utrecht, in the Netherlands on Monday morning has been arrested. The Dutch national coordinator for counterterrorism called it a "terrorist attack".

    Go to archive