Migrants charged into the Channel Tunnel demanding to be allowed into Britain
3 August 2015, Nirapad News: An organised mob of 200 migrants charged into the Calais entrance of the Channel Tunnel early yesterday, chanting ‘open the borders’ and demanding to be allowed into Britain.
They tore down fences and charged past police, who retaliated by spraying tear gas. When the migrants were finally beaten back, they regrouped to form a human barricade, blocking the road to the tunnel.
A French riot officer was left needing stitches in his head after police were pelted by stones last night as around 1,700 refugees again tried to storm the Channel Tunnel.
For the past week thousands of people have stormed fences and desperately tried to clamber on trains bound for Kent – a deadly gamble that has allowed at least 200 to get to Britain but also claimed the lives of nine people.
One migrant, who gave his name only as KD, 27, from the Sudan, said: ‘We want to go to England. We are 100. We are going to sit in the street. Tomorrow, we are going to camp in the road.’
There were also suggestions a hunger strike would be launched.
Sammy, an Ethiopian lawyer who appeared to be directing the blockade, said the migrants were becoming increasingly desperate to get to England. She added: ‘We are all one person. We all have the same idea. We are all one.’
Sammy, in near-perfect English, shouted slogans which were repeated in unison by the crowd. She said: ‘We are humans. We are not animals. We have rights. Stop the police. Open the borders – just like in Italy.’
In later chants, the crowd shouted: ‘Why do you kill us? Why did you kill my sister? We are coming to save our lives. Why do we live inside the Jungle? Where are the rights of immigrants?’
Sammy later screamed that migrants were treated as badly in France as in Libya. When an onlooker said lorry drivers were ‘just doing their job’ and should be allowed to pass, several migrants shouted: ‘No one cares about our jobs. No one care about our sleep.’
For almost four hours, police did not try to move the migrants and a tailback of dozens of freight wagons filled the road.
When the sun began to rise, more than a dozen specialist officers arrived dressed in riot gear and sprayed tear gas at the migrants – many of whom were sleeping in the road. They quickly dispersed.
The chaotic scene, witnessed by the Mail, came as police admitted that yesterday’s attempts to enter Britain were more ‘orchestrated’ than previously. They estimated 400 migrants had tried to enter this country that night.
The trouble began in the early hours of Sunday when 200 migrants were yards from entering the Channel Tunnel on foot after storming down barricades.
They ran towards the fences, smashing and tearing down the flimsy barriers as they went.
They were only held back by tear gas. But rather than flee completely, many began to build camp fires near the tunnel entrance to keep warm.
It was from there that the plans were made to carry out a protest on the road. After being sprayed in the face, Mohammed, 25, from Sudan, said: ‘There were 140 of us who said we would go to England together. I will try again. I want to go to England. I am scared but I will try again tomorrow.’
Earlier in the night, 40 migrants crawled through the same two holes which have been open in a fence at the Frethun suburb of Calais for weeks. Despite three army officers standing 400 yards away, no one was manning the gaps.
One man, Samwra from Libya, handed over his email address and said: ‘Add me on Facebook’ before charging towards the tracks with just a bottle of water in his hand.
Speaking to the Mail in the makeshift camp known as The Jungle, Niamat Ullah, 22, said: ‘I was an interpreter for three years for the US Army but I was threatened by the Taliban.’ Before arriving in Calais last week, Niamat travelled for five months through Turkey and Bulgaria. He said he continued to France because ‘Bulgarian people are worse than the Taliban’.
A spokesman for Eurotunnel yesterday said that efforts to access the tunnel were being carefully planned. He added: ‘What we saw looked very much like it was an organised activity.
‘We have been saying for some time that there is a degree of sophistication and organisation among migrants which shows it not simply people trying to get to UK but also organised criminal activity. It is shocking but perhaps not surprising given the scale of the problem. We need to remove the problem from the area.
‘It is a now a criminal crisis as well as a migration crisis. The governments need to act not only to protect the Channel Tunnel but break up criminal gangs.’
The Mail revealed today that as many as 70 per cent of the thousands of migrants massing at Calais are making it to Britain, MPs have been warned.
The revelation by a police chief that up to 900 illegal immigrants make it to the UK every month came amid frantic efforts by ministers to show they are finally getting a grip on the crisis.
Today, they will announce that rogue landlords who fail to check if they are renting to illegal immigrants face five years in jail. Over the weekend, a slew of announcements were made on sending CCTV, security guards and lighting to Calais, and axing some asylum-seeker handouts.
Over the weekend, gangs of migrants continued to lay siege to the Tunnel. In the early hours of yesterday, an organised group of 200 tore down fences and charged past police with tear gas, chanting ‘open the borders!’
On Friday, Downing Street was stung by criticism of its announcement that more dogs and fences would be sent to Calais. MPs and hauliers said it was no more than a ‘sticking plaster’ response. Over the weekend, the Government responded with further steps intended to show the UK is not ‘the land of milk and honey’.
The announcement on landlords – first promised in the Queen’s Speech two months ago – will require them to conduct ‘right to rent’ checks on their tenants’ immigration status before offering them a tenancy agreement.
Despite the continued mayhem over the weekend, Home Secretary Mrs May and David Cameron stuck to their position of refusing to ‘point the finger of blame’ at the French.
In a joint article with her French counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve, Mrs May urged other EU nations to help address the root causes of the ‘global migration crisis’. But in France, politicians attacked the British and threatened to open the border and ‘let them all through’.
Emmanuel Agius, deputy mayor of Calais, said he would tear up the treaty which means people crossing the Channel are checked in France, rather than on arrival in Britain. He said of Mr Cameron: ‘They will be on his territory, in the port of Dover. He poses as the saviour of the situation, on a subject he is greatly mistaken about.’