Migrant crisis deepens hundreds gather at Calais port

As more migrants attempt storming into Channel Tunnel for the third time, Britain’s Cameron announces Britain is no “safe haven”

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

French security forces block migrants along a road to prevent them access to the tunnel

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron said that it would be possible to remove illegal migrants from the UK after several hundreds migrants gathered at the entrance of the Eurotunnel on Wednesday night for the third time, since the beginning of the week with the hope of storming in and reaching Britain.

Border police electrocuted one Egyptian migrant while he attempted to cross fences and enter  the tunnel.

Eurotunnel, the company that manages and operates the Channel Tunnel between France and Britain, released a statement saying they detected 2,000 migrants trying to enter the tunnel illegally on Monday and 1,500 more on Tuesday.

On the third night of the attempts, French police and Eurotunnel security guards prevented hundreds of migrants from entering into the Channel Tunnel.

Speaking to the BBC, Eurotunnel official John Keefe said that “it is a nightly assault by hundreds, if not thousands, of migrants who are trying to get to the UK by any means possible."

“So they're coming through the fences, trying to get to the freight terminal, they're trying to get onto trucks or trains that would eventually carry them to the UK," Keefe added.

During the Vietnam stop of his southeast China visit, Cameron warned people who want to enter Britain illegally by saying “illegal immigrants would be removed from the UK, so people know it's not a safe haven."

Criticizing migrants who keep coming illegally to Britain, Cameron said that “this is very testing, I accept that, because you have got a swarm of people coming across the Mediterranean seeking a better life, wanting to come to Britain because Britain has got jobs, it’s got a growing economy, it’s an incredible place to live. But we need to protect our borders by working hand in glove with our neighbours, the French, and that is exactly what we are doing.”

Cameron’s usage of the word “swarn” caused criticisms among politicians and diplomats. The Refugee Council defined the usage as “awful, dehumanising language from a world leader.”

Security measures increased after “Cobra” emergency meeting

After Wednesday’s emergency “Cobra” meeting between France and Britain following the last incident in the French port Calais which left one dead as 1,500 migrants attempted to enter Eurotunnel, 120 French police officers were sent to Calais in order to block migrants storming into the tunnel to reach Britain.

After the meeting, Home Secretary Theresa May stressed that the security measures will be tightened at the entrances of Eurotunnel in French Calais and British Denver ports and said that “one of the outcomes of the meeting today was some more urgent work with government departments but also with Eurotunnel on further measures that can taken at Coquelles to prevent people getting into the tunnel.”

May announced after the meeting that additional fences will be built around the tunnel’s entrance.

May also highlighted the importance of Eurotunnel’s involvement in the security measures along with France and Britain, and said that  “Eurotunnel has a role to play here in the measures they themselves put in place to protect their trains.”

Migrant crisis’ turns into traffic crisis

As a result of migrants trying to enter the tunnel by using lorries or trains, the border police pulled over lorries in order to prevent smuggling of migrants through trucks.

The practice caused chaos, resulting in long waits and delays for the cars waiting to cross the tunnel.

Mentioning the traffic problems due to border police control, May said that “the meeting has tasked the Department for Transport, working with Kent county council and others, to find options urgently to ensure we can reduce that disruption.”

TRTWorld and agencies