Police, farmers and lorry drivers in Calais have begun a “go slow” protest against what they claim are the insufficient resources with which they are expected to keep order in the French city.
Calais has received a huge influx of migrants in the past six months, as hundreds of mainly Eritrean, Sudanese and Afghan migrants gather in the port to attempt to cross into Britain. Authorities estimate that in excess of 1,500 people are living rough in the woods or squatting in disused buildings in the city.
And the police are complaining that they are unable to cope with the numbers.
“In the space of a few months, the migrant numbers have quadrupled in Calais,” said a statement from the police union Syndicat Général de la Police – Force Ouvrière (SGP-FO).
“The police have had no choice but to abandon their public service mission, as a result of the lack of resources and above all staff. The continued flow of migrants traps the local economy in an unprecedented crisis, and businesses are threatened.”
Around a dozen lorry drivers and approximately 30 tractors joined the protest, driving at a crawl along the road towards Boulogne-sur-Mer.
Over the summer Calais has been the scene of clashes between rival migrant groups, and also demonstrations by far-Right organisations. Local people are in general sympathetic to the migrants’ plight – but with no political solution in sight, the patience of many is wearing thin…