Anti-refugee activists block roads, get detained in Calais

French police detain young extreme right activists after they torched tires and tried to block refugees in French port of Calais from entering town centre

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A French border police officer patrols near tents in a muddy field as refugees are moved to a new refugee camp with wood humanitarian-standard shelters in Grande-Synthe, near Dunkirk, northern France, March 8, 2016.

Police detained 14 young extreme right activists after they torched tires and tried to block refugees in the French port of Calais from entering the centre of the town.

The group Generation Identitaire said in a statement that its activists "took control" of two bridges on Saturday and wants EU and national governments to reinstate borders.

The regional police department said 14 were detained and a truck seized to show the government's "determination not to let extremist movements manipulate the migrant crisis."

Calais, long a magnet for migrants and refugees trying to sneak across the English Channel to Britain, became a flashpoint in Europe's unprecedented refugee influx. Thousands of people escaping war and poverty in the Mideast and Africa gathered in a filthy Calais camp that authorities are gradually dismantling.

On the other hand, Grande-Synthe, a town 40 kilometres away on the coast, was preparing to build France’s first refugee camp even though official authorities resisted that initiative.  

A refugee is reflected in a puddle of water in a camp called the Grande-Synthe jungle, near Dunkirk, France, March 8, 2016.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) had established medium size refugee camps consisting of 200 to 275 cabins to host almost 1500 people. That camp aimed at housing refugees fleeing from the demolition in Calais.

However, many refugees have faced very difficult conditions at Grande-Synthe for months, even worse than the refugees in Calais.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 1.1 million refugees arrived in Europe last year, more than 850,000 of those arrived by sea to Greece from Turkey, hosting more than 2.7 million refugees.

The Syrian civil war has claimed more than 260,000 lives and turned the country into the world's largest source of refugees and displaced persons.

TRTWorld, AP