Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News World

French riot police target Channel Tunnel migrants with chemical spray

Published 02/08/2015

Migrants climb over a fence on to the tracks near the Eurotunnel site at Coquelles in Calais
Migrants climb over a fence on to the tracks near the Eurotunnel site at Coquelles in Calais

French riot police have sprayed migrants with a chemical irritant as they tried to storm the Channel Tunnel.

The migrants, who broke down several security fences late on Saturday night, were forced to retreat by riot police as they attempted to breach the final fence near the entrance of the 50-kilometre (30-mile) tunnel under the English Channel.

The migrants, estimated to number around 200, faced off for close to an hour with security forces, chanting slogans including: "Open the border" and "We are not animals."

Thousands of migrants have been scaling fences near the tunnel in recent weeks, trying to hop on freight trains or trucks destined for Britain. One man was fatally crushed by a truck.

Most of the migrants have fled war, dictatorship and poverty in Africa and the Middle East, entering Europe Greece or Italy before heading north. Many think Britain offers the best prospects, because of the English language, welfare benefits and the perceived ease of getting a job.

The migrant activity at the tunnel - combined with a series of strikes by French ferry workers - have disrupted freight and passenger traffic, and spurred both governments to promise higher fences, more surveillance cameras and extra security guards.

British and French interior ministers said the nightly attempts to reach Britain are part of a "global migration crisis" that needs an international solution.

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph