Socialist Worker

Cops ramp up brutal refugee crackdown

Issue No. 2672

A camp near Calais in 2018

A camp in northern France in February 2018 (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Refugees in northern France are facing a brutal border clampdown by British and French authorities.

French police have ruthlessly cleared refugee camps in Calais and Dunkirk, and desperate people are taking to boats in an effort to get to Britain.

UK Border Force (UKBF) patrol boats intercepted two boats in the English Channel on Monday morning

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One group of 11 refugees was brought ashore at the Port of Dover, searched, then bundled into a van.

The UKBF had already stopped another small boat in the channel at around 4.30am. On board were eight men, one woman and two children who had fled war, dictatorship and poverty in Iraq and Iran.

A few hours afterwards the French coast guard stopped a boat carrying nine refugees and handed them over to police in Boulogne-sur-Mer.

The crossings were the latest by a rising number of refugees trying to flee police repression in northern France. Some 41 refugees in four boats were stopped last weekend.

And at least 86 men, women and children tried to make it to Britain on Tuesday of last week—the highest recorded number in a day.

The crossings come after a meeting between Tory home secretary Priti Patel and French interior minister Christophe Castaner.

They agreed to make life even harder for refugees. Aid workers have said there is “direct correlation” between the rising numbers trying to cross the channel and repression. Over 100 French cops clea ed the large site in Grande-Synthe, Dunkirk, on Tuesday morning.

British Home Office officials were present.


Around 800 refugees, including many families with young children, relied on the gym building there for shelter and toilet facilities.

The eviction at the Dunkirk gym will force hundreds more to take the dangerous journey across the channel.

And French authorities bulldozed one of the largest refugee settlement near the Verrotieres Road in Calais on Tuesday.

Cops had begun to clear it last Thursday.

The following day police officers—some armed with tear gas guns—cordoned off the site ordering people to leave the area.

Refugees were marched off, some carrying their belongings in black bin bags.

French officials swept through the settlement and threw tents and other belongings into a rubbish skip.

The police clearances were carried out after a French court issued eviction notices on refugee settlements in Calais and Dunkirk.

Police also raided a smaller refugee settlement near the lake in Dunkirk last Saturday afternoon. The only solution is to open the border and let them in safely.

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