After tensions with Britain over increasing numbers of illegal crossings, an extensive settlement of migrants was dismantled in Dunkirk’s suburbs in northern France.
“My instruction has been given by the security force to evacuate the Grande-Synthe illegal migrant camp this morning.” French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Twitter on Tuesday. He also said the state services of the region would shelter the group.
Gabriel Attal, spokesperson for government, stated that decision to close camp was taken primarily because people were looking to be put in shelters before winter.
The site was evacuated by buses with around 1,500 migrants. Their tents were also removed. According to Utopia 56, one of the charities monitoring the process of dismantling the camp, people “They were forced to board buses and not informed about their destinations. Some of their personal possessions have also been destroyed.”
Évacuation forcée et sans annonce du campement de Grande-Synthe depuis ce matin : plus de 500 personnes sont contraintes de monter dans des bus, sans être informées de leur destination : “police ou hôtel”. Une partie de leurs effets personnels est en cours de destruction. pic.twitter.com/EwFPR2yl2j
— Utopia 56 (@Utopia_56) November 16, 2021
Changes in Channel Crossings: French police moved 1,500 migrants from Dunkirk to France yesterday as part of talks between Priti Patel (French counterpart) and their French counterpart. They agreed to stop Channel Crossings at ‘100%’ after records were set for 2021. pic.twitter.com/PUE9YDCTAY
— RT UK (@RTUKnews) November 16, 2021
In a separate tweet, Darmanin announced the arrest of 13 alleged migrant smugglers, “The total now stands at 1,308 after January.”
“This group of criminals known as smugglers is responsible for irregular immigration.” the minister wrote.
Tuesday’s actions by French authorities came in the wake of a phone call between Darmanin and his British counterpart Priti Patel. They discussed illegal immigrants crossing the English Channel and reaffirmed the need for cooperation to make this possible. “unviable,”Patel spoke up afterwards.
When it comes to illegal immigration, France and Britain have had a long history of mutual accusations. While British officials have claimed that French authorities do not do enough to prevent migrants from embarking for the dangerous trip, France’s government has said that the UK should reform its labor market rules in order to become less attractive to migrants.
According to figures from the Press Association, 23,000 more people crossed the Channel this year by boat than 8,404 in 2020.
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