French protest against refugee situation in Calais
Hundreds of French people have held a demonstration to condemn the appalling living conditions of asylum seekers trapped in the northern port city of Calais, who are waiting to cross the Channel Tunnel into Britain.
Some 700 protesters marched through the streets of the northern French city of Lille on Saturday to voice their support for asylum seekers and express their dissatisfaction with the situation in the refugee camp in Calais.
Chanting pro-refugee slogans, the demonstrators were holding banners deploring conditions in refugee facilities across Europe.
A protester described the living conditions of asylum seekers in the French camp as “intolerable,” saying the protest was held “to denounce the situation.”
“The situation is bad, we should see the Calais camp where 6,000 people live in unacceptable conditions. That is not worthy of the country of human rights, therefore the situation is extremely serious,” another protester said.
The protesters also slammed the French government’s treatment of the refugees and its introduction of stricter security measures on the French side of the Channel Tunnel, where many people have camped in hope of crossing over into the UK.
According to reports, 15 refugees have lost their lives in Calais since the end of June while trying to make their way through the undersea passage into Britain.
Some 6,000 people are living in the ‘New Jungle’, the name given to various encampments on the land around the tunnel in Calais.
Back in August, new security measures were introduced at the French side of the tunnel to cut the number of crossings.
The situation in Calais is part of a wider refugee crisis across Europe. Officials in the European countries reportedly remain divided over how to deal with refugees, most of whom are fleeing conflict-hit zones in the Middle East and Africa.
According to the latest figures released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 773,244 refugees have reached Europe’s shores so far this year while a total of 3,423 people have either died or gone missing in their perilous journey to the continent.