Migrants clash in Calais leaving four teenagers in critical condition

03 February, 2018, 07:19 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • A group of migrants carrying sticks during clashes near the ferry port in Calais northern France

Approximately 22 people were hospitalized in the aftermath of the struggle, and four young Eritrean migrants were in critical condition, local prosectors told the Agence France-Presse news agency.

The government of President Emmanuel Macron has sought to address the migrant situation in Calais and elsewhere by prioritizing asylum seekers over economic migrants.

Two clashes broke out in the northern port city.

The French news service says a second fight broke out later in another part of town, with about a hundred Eritreans fighting some 20 Afghans.

He has vowed to step up deportations while speeding up waiting times for bona fide asylum seekers an approach he touts as mixing "humanity" and "efficiency".

Collomb said the Government will start meal distribution to migrants outside Calais in the coming two weeks, instead of leaving it to aid groups, in an effort to stop sites from becoming fixed nodes of tension.

It was not immediately clear who had done the shooting, although people smugglers occasionally carry pistols, as do some of the migrants themselves.


Insisting that "very few" people successfully sneak across to Britain, Collomb said, "if you want to go to Britain, you shouldn't go to Calais".

Authorities said French police intervened to protect the Afghans.

By 9pm, police said that a total of 13 migrants were seriously wounded, as other victims were found by police around the town.

Mr Collomb urged migrants not to head to Calais if they wanted to try to get to the United Kingdom, saying their attempts from there - often trying to hide themselves in lorries - would be unsuccessful.

Annie Gavrilescu, France regional manager for charity Help Refugees, said: "Yesterday's clashes tragically show the true extent of the suffering these criminal gangs can cause, pitting communities against each other for gain, while displaced men, women and children in Calais are barely surviving in the most inhumane conditions". In Calais, he has expressed support for the police, whose treatment of migrants was criticized by a Human Rights Watch report that denounced their systematic use of pepper spray against migrants.

Many of those who had lived in the jungle moved to other areas of France but others remained in the hope of making their way on to trucks and boats heading towards the UK.

The grim conditions, made worse by a particularly wet winter, have led to tensions between groups of migrants from different regions that sometimes spills over into violence.

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