(Reuters) – French riot police started evacuating three campsites housing hundreds of immigrants in the northern port town of Calais on Wednesday, days after the anti-immigrant National Front party hammered the ruling Socialists in a European election.
The evictions, denounced by local rights organizations, had been announced by a local government prefect a week earlier – before Sunday’s election drubbing – on the grounds that the makeshift camps posed problems for public health and safety.
Calais has for years attracted floods of immigrants who flee poverty or conflict in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, many of them hoping to cross the narrow sea channel to Britain by ferry or the sub-sea train tunnel.
“This is sad, and it changes nothing,” said Jalal, an Iraqi in his 20s who watched as police moved in.
“I’ll move my tent somewhere else … but I am staying put (in Calais). What else can I do. I will try again to make the crossing. I did not come here just to give up now.”
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Forget it, Jalal. The game is over. Maybe one of the rich Gulf oil states could use you? They import people from places like the Philippines. Why not Iraqis?
See also coverage at The Daily Mail.