Police push migrants back to camp while activists throw stones at security forces, injuring 3

 

French police fired tear gas and water cannon at migrants and protesters who gathered in defiance of a ban on Saturday outside the shanty town near Calais known as “the Jungle”, local authorities said.

 

About 200 migrants and some 50 protesters assembled under a bridge to protest against living conditions in the nearby camp that President Francois Hollande has vowed to close by the end of the year.

 

Police clashed with migrants as they pushed them back to the camp while activists threw stones at the security forces, slightly injuring three officers. An AFP photographer was also injured.

 

Resorting to tear gas and water cannon, police brought the situation under control in 20 minutes, said Etienne Desplanques, an official of the Pas-de-Calais region.

 

Thousands of migrants fleeing war and poverty, from Afghanistan to Syria, have converged on Calais over the past two years.

 

Between 7,000 and 10,000 migrants are currently living in the “Jungle”, a launchpad for people’s desperate attempts to stow away on lorries heading across the Channel to England.

 

Another 150 protesters who left Paris on Saturday aboard four coaches were blocked by police at a toll road about 30km short of the northern port.

 

MEE