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Migrants would 'rather die' than give up as French riot police move into the Jungle camp

  • More than 2,000 of 10,000 migrants have left the Jungle but many remain
  • Charity bosses say some will try to get to Britain 'at all costs' or 'die' trying 
  • A 300-strong group chanted: 'UK, UK, UK!' and are refusing to budge
  • Fights broke out as refugees queued before dawn to be send elsewhere 
  • But Imran Ali, 20, said: 'We must get to the UK. If I die it's no problem' 

By Glen Keogh and Mario Ledwith and Peter Allen In Calais For Mailonline

Published: 17:41 EST, 24 October 2016 | Updated: 03:18 EST, 25 October 2016

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Calais migrants today pledged to 'get to Britain at all costs' - or 'die' trying - as they prepared to bunker down in the Jungle camp as its demolition starts today. 

Aid workers say thousands of refugees may 'resist' and refuse to leave on the day work to raze the camp to the ground is due to begin.

Last night remaining migrants from its estimated 10,000-strong population began protesting against armed officers and broke into chants of 'UK, UK, UK!'

The 300-strong group held their hands aloft in a crossed position as if handcuffed to signify their lack of freedom.

Today hundreds of migrants were queuing up in the pre-dawn darkness for buses to take them to housing sites around France.

'Bye Bye, Jungle!' one group of migrants shouted as they hauled luggage through the muddy lanes of the shantytown where thousands of mainly Afghans, Sudanese and Eritreans had holed up, desperate to sneak into Britain. 

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Jostling: Riot police are marshalling huge crowds of migrants in Calais today charities say some would rather die than leave and lose their chance to get to Britain Jostling: Riot police are marshalling huge crowds of migrants in Calais today charities say some would rather die than leave and lose their chance to get to Britain

Jostling: Riot police are marshalling huge crowds of migrants in Calais today charities say some would rather die than leave and lose their chance to get to Britain

Moving on: A migrant waits with his bags outside a Jungle processing centre - some were chanting 'UK, UK, UK!' and resisting requests to move Moving on: A migrant waits with his bags outside a Jungle processing centre - some were chanting 'UK, UK, UK!' and resisting requests to move

Moving on: A migrant waits with his bags outside a Jungle processing centre - some were chanting 'UK, UK, UK!' and resisting requests to move

Staying: Some 2000 mainly Sudanese and Eritrean migrants have so far left the camp for other part of France, but at least 5000 remain Staying: Some 2000 mainly Sudanese and Eritrean migrants have so far left the camp for other part of France, but at least 5000 remain

Staying: Some 2000 mainly Sudanese and Eritrean migrants have so far left the camp for other part of France, but at least 5000 remain

Wait: Migrants who claim to be children wait for their registration and evacuation from the camp this morning Wait: Migrants who claim to be children wait for their registration and evacuation from the camp this morning

Wait: Migrants who claim to be children wait for their registration and evacuation from the camp this morning

Wait: Migrants line-up to register at a processing centre in the makeshift migrant camp before dawn today Wait: Migrants line-up to register at a processing centre in the makeshift migrant camp before dawn today

Wait: Migrants line-up to register at a processing centre in the makeshift migrant camp before dawn today

As bulldozers prepared to go in, Christian Salome, head of the Migrant Shelter charity, said: 'They do not want to leave', and will continue with their 'dream of England'.

Some 2000 mainly Sudanese and Eritrean migrants have so far left the camp for other part of France, but at least 5000 remain.

Mr Salome said: 'Right now the operation is going well because they are people who were looking forward leaving.

'But we're more worried about the end of the week, when there will be people who do not want to go, and who continue to want to get to England.'

Pierre Henry, another charity leader, said: 'There are a number who will resist. They want to get to Britain at all costs.' 

Tensions flared this morning when several hundred migrants - predominantly young men - tried to force their way into a registration centre.

Police in riot gear formed a barricade as the frustrated migrants became agitated as they waited to board buses leaving the refugee camp.

Police screamed 'Don't push, don't push' as the group surged towards a gated area where French officials are registering migrants wishing to leave the camp.

Charity workers said the migrants had been told be gather outside the building at 7am but they became angered when the registration process has still not began more than 90 minutes.

The melee eventually calmed when charity workers convinced the men to sit down on the ground, halting the crush.

Care 4 Calais screamed at the migrants: 'Everybody will be registered. Please, please everybody sit down.'

Tensions flared this morning when several hundred migrants - predominantly young men - tried to force their way into a registration centre Tensions flared this morning when several hundred migrants - predominantly young men - tried to force their way into a registration centre

Tensions flared this morning when several hundred migrants - predominantly young men - tried to force their way into a registration centre

Police screamed 'Don't push, don't push' as the group surged towards a gated area where French officials are registering migrants wishing to leave the camp Police screamed 'Don't push, don't push' as the group surged towards a gated area where French officials are registering migrants wishing to leave the camp

Police screamed 'Don't push, don't push' as the group surged towards a gated area where French officials are registering migrants wishing to leave the camp

Jaoued Belmir, head of France's Officer of Immigration and Integration, said it was leading to a situation where 'most of them do not have the means to pay the smugglers.'

Mr Belmier said: 'Because the border with England has been sealed gradually, prices have risen', and now a zero tolerance approach to Calais migrants was coming into place.

Despite this, the French authorities and local charities agreed that some 2000 inhabitants of the Jungle were expected to 'fight back' against its destruction. 

One of the protesters said the group was expressing frustration at being forced to relocate in France when they wanted to gain entry to Britain.

Yesterday 40 buses took 2,300 mainly Sudanese and Eritrean men to destinations across France. 

The target had been set at 3,000 for the operation, which came before the camp is demolished today.

The migrants had begun queueing at a makeshift registration centre at dawn but trouble broke out periodically during the day as the crowd was penned together by French riot police.

Fears have already spread across Calais that the planned destruction of the Jungle will only lead to new shantytowns springing up along the French coast as migrants continue attempts to reach Britain.

Many migrants spoken to by the Daily Mail yesterday said that rather than take French asylum, they would step up efforts to cross the Channel by any means necessary.

Jungle resident Mohammad Hadi, 22, said despite the imminent arrival of bull- dozers, he would use the time he had left in the camp to find a way across the Channel.

'They are just going to remove the tents so we are going to build a new Jungle,' he added. 'I will just keep trying.'

The Afghan admitted he had been deported from the UK to his homeland in 2013 after failing to adhere to registration requirements.

But he said he made the journey back to Calais to rejoin his relatives in England because it is 'a place of promise that can give you a bright future'.

Mr Hadi, speaking on behalf of a group of seven friends from the war-torn country, said: 'If there is no legal way to get to the UK, we have to go back to the lorries. Yesterday I risked my life by trying to climb under a water tanker but it didn't work.'

Fraught: Tempers frayed at the Jungle on Monday as migrants jostled for position Fraught: Tempers frayed at the Jungle on Monday as migrants jostled for position

Fraught: Tempers frayed at the Jungle on Monday as migrants jostled for position

French police moved in, wielding batons to quell the angry crowd of migrants yesterday French police moved in, wielding batons to quell the angry crowd of migrants yesterday

French police moved in, wielding batons to quell the angry crowd of migrants yesterday

Imran Ali, 20, who also fled Afghanistan, told the Mail: 'We will just try other places. We will go and jump on the ferry from Dunkirk.

'We must get to the UK. If I die it's no problem. I would rather die than stay here. In France they treat refugees like dogs.'

His friend Pata Azi, 13, claimed to have family in Britain, but said he had not been offered a chance to reach the UK along with unaccompanied minors who arrived last week. 

'I will go and try and jump on lorry or car,' he said. 'Got to keep trying.'

As older migrants were taken out in coaches yesterday, one charity said there were still 49 unaccompanied children aged under 13 remaining in the camp.

The Home Office confirmed it had been forced to 'temporarily pause' the transfer of young refugees from the Jungle to the UK at the request of French authorities.

All 49 children are eligible for relocation to Britain under the Dubs amendment to the Immigration Act, which ensures the country will offer sanctuary to the youngest and most vulnerable children.

Many of the migrants are from Eritrea or Ethiopia or Sudan, where war and political violence have spurred them to seek a better life in Europe but they do not want to stay in France Many of the migrants are from Eritrea or Ethiopia or Sudan, where war and political violence have spurred them to seek a better life in Europe but they do not want to stay in France

Many of the migrants are from Eritrea or Ethiopia or Sudan, where war and political violence have spurred them to seek a better life in Europe but they do not want to stay in France

The port city's police commissioner, Patrick Visser-Bourdon, admitted the delay was due to a lack of buses which lasted for around three hours before more were obtained. 

One Afghan refugee last night admitted several of his friends aged in their 20s had tried to register as under-age minors in an attempt to reach Britain.

Ajmal Begzad, 19, said: 'They just want to leave to live in Britain so they will take that chance.'

He said their attempts had so far proved unsuccessful but they would try again.

Two uniformed Metropolitan Police officers have been deployed to Calais where they are seconded to the National Police Chiefs' Council 'to help minimise any disruption'.

As areas of France prepared for an influx of migrants, one centre in Loubeyrat, central France, was set alight in the early hours of Monday.

Three centres in the town had been set up to welcome migrants being evacuated.

People will be more desperate than ever to see if they can break into Britain 
Charlie Elphicke, Tory MP for Dover 

Conservative MPs last night called for Britain to step up its border security to prevent migrants making last-ditch attempts to make their way across the Channel.

Charlie Elphicke said the camp's closure was vital to 'end the Calais migrant magnet', adding: 'People will be more desperate than ever to see if they can break into Britain.'

French riot police were last night preparing for battle against No Borders activists based in Britain who are feared to have infiltrated the camp.

In March the hard-Left group offered violent opposition to an operation to destroy the south side of the Jungle.

Numerous fires raged in the camp last night, with residents claiming that a group of migrants had torched an area that served as a base for a group of British charity workers.

 

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