Migrants from the large refugee camp near Calais, France, which has been nicknamed “the Jungle,” have recently started attacking vehicles passing by on nearby roads, smashing windows, and posing dangerous threats to drivers. A large tree branch thrown though the windshield of a passing truck recently missed the driver by inches.
A local resident named Maëva Mayla posted pictures on her Facebook page of her brother-in-law’s car (shown), which had sustained more than 500 Euros’ worth of damage after more than a dozen migrants struck it with bats, smashing the windshield, a side mirror, and the rear window. Mayla noted (translated from the French):
Go to work and getting attacked by migrants [trouble makers] just for the pleasure [of it] it disgusts me!! I don't even have the words to describe it!
My Brother-in-law is waiting quietly on the highway and you happen to see them with bats knives.... You’re wondering what you did?
An August 16 report in Britain’s Express newspaper cited other Facebook posts made by a group of citizen journalists, Les Calaisiens en Colère, showing pictures of the sharpened tree branch that penetrated several feet into the cabin of the truck. In a statement accompanying the images, the campaign group said, "A truck driver has been a victim of an attempted murder. He got away. We don’t know by what miracle he escaped unharmed."
In a plea to French president Francois Hollande, they added, "Mr Hollande! Will the people of Calais have to take the same course of action as the Corsicans, or will you start to protect your people?"
The Express explained that reference: “In Corsica a terrorist group known as the National Liberation Front have been waging a decades-long battle against the French government for independence.”
It should seem obvious that modeling oneself after a terrorist group to enlist support against potential terrorist acts committed by migrants is not the best strategy!
While violence waged again local residents outside the camp is a relatively recent occurrence, even more violent episodes have taken place inside the Jungle.
Breitbart provided a translation of a report from the local French newspaper, Nord Littoral, which interviewed an Eritrean migrant named Sami who has been living in camp for six months. He said:
“There are people who come from different countries who do not speak the same language. That creates tensions, particularly in the queues for food. I have seen conflicts start there; you’re more likely to get a meal if you’re big and strong.”
Britain’s Daily Mail reported on July 26 that an Ethiopian man had been hacked to death in the camp the preceding night “when 200 UK-bound refugees from rival African and Afghan gangs clashed in a vicious battle.” It appears that the camp’s nickname is well deserved.
Trouble has been brewing in the vicinity of the Calais camp for some time, as was indicated by a report in the English language French paper The Local, published last April noting that police in the city were worried that the increasing number of migrants in the area who were trying to cross over the English Channel to Britain might create chaos this summer. The report noted that a common tactic used by migrants was to use tree trunks and branches to block roads and slow down trucks passing by their camp so that they can smash the locks on the back and stow away inside with the cargo. The trucks then board ferries or shuttle trains going to England.
“I fear a rise in tensions and more and more problems because thousands of migrants are arriving in Italy, even if some are going back to Turkey. My colleagues have had enough because there is no solution,” the report quoted Bruno Noel from the police union Alliance as saying.
The Local quoted another police union representative, Gilles Debove, of the SGP Police-Force Ouvriere union, who said two units of riot police were overstretched as they tried to unblock the roads.
“Everyone pretends everything is fine in Calais, but it’s just not true. I'm choosing my words here, but the situation is still a hell of a mess,” said Debove.
As we noted in our article on August 10, authorities now view the Jungle as a hazardous and threatening entity, and are moving to shut it down. International Business Times reported that following a decision by French authorities on February 25 to evict those on the southern part of “the Jungle” and a follow-up decision to close the restaurants established in and around it on July 18, 150 police have conducted raids on two dozen establishments providing food for the residents of the camp. The food was seized and disposed of by the Departmental Directorate for the Protection of Civilian Populations (DDPP). French authorities served business-owners with an eviction notice on August 3, stating that their businesses would be demolished on August 10.
However, on August 12, a French court rejected a state request to tear down more than 70 illegal shops inside the Jungle.
The UK Telegraph reported that judge Jean-François Molla said that while local state authorities’ were concerned that the shops “benefit from no administrative authorization” and some “don't respect the most basic of sanitary norms,” they were “understandable.”
In allowing the shops to continue the judge said: “These grocers, cafes and restaurants fulfill other functions [for migrants] who live in conditions of extreme precariousness and total inactivity.”
It appears, therefore, that life for an estimated 9,000 migrants living at the Jungle will go on indefinitely as it has for years, and as tensions rise, fallout from the camp’s existence near Calais will also continue.
With camp numbers rising by 70 each day, the only permanent solution would be to close France’s border to migrants from North Africa and the Middle East. It remains to be seen, however, if there is suficient political will in France to take that drastic measure.