French police break up riot in migrant camp in Calais

More than a dozen “migrants” gathering near lorries in Calais, France (Reuters)

Riot police were called in to break up a pitched battle in Calais involving around 200 of the thousands of migrants who flock to the French port hoping to sneak into England in the back of a lorry.

Migrants threw security barriers and other objects at each other in the fracas that left 14 people injured on Sunday, La Voix du Nord newspaper reported.

The incident, the latest in a series of violent clashes in Calais, was apparently sparked by a fight between an Afghan and a Sudanese man over a stolen mobile phone.

It took place at a recently-opened day centre on the outskirts of the town that provides showers and serves 1,300 meals a day to the rising number of migrants from a string of war-torn countries including Afghanistan, Eritrea, Syria, Sudan and Somalia.

Several dozen CRS riot police, backed by municipal officers, rushed to the scene to quell the violence. They briefly shut down the centre, which also provides overnight accommodation to a small number of women and children, and then stayed on when it was reopened to provide security as meals were distributed.

French authorities are under growing pressure to clear the migrant squats and camps around Calais that have mushroomed as growing numbers flock to the port to try to make it to the UK…

calais-france-cent_3317122b-2The incident took place at the recently opened Jules Ferry centre for migrants Photo: Francois Mori/AP