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Protest against migrant camp

Calais blockade causes traffic chaos

On the morning of Monday 5 September, lorry drivers and farmers started to blockade the main route into Calais in a protest against its migrant camp, named Operation Escargot. The protest is going ahead despite a promise by the French government last week to raze the sprawling “Jungle” camp by the end of the year.

The camp’s population has doubled since June to as many as 10,000 migrants despite the demolition of half of the squalid shanty-town in February. Migrants are being urged to stay in the camp today to avoid clashes with the protesters.

Two convoys of trucks left Dunkirk and Boulogne on the A16 motorway towards Calais on a "go slow" protest. Farmers in tractors are waiting on the side of the road to join the protest.

The lorry drivers say they have seen increasing threats from organised gangs and migrants, who have been attempting to board vehicles to reach the UK. While farmers are said to be angry at the destruction of crops caused by the swelling of the migrant camp.

Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters carrying banners are gathering near the entrance to the Channel Tunnel and ferry terminals.

Protesters have now blocked the exit route in a bid to "paralyse" the roads infrastructure and stop any vehicles from entering or leaving the town. The road into Calais is expected to be blocked by lunchtime, when the truckers arrive.

The disruption has triggered fears of widespread disruption for cross-channel travellers. Police have arrived at the port ahead of the blockade.

Eurotunnel today said they had brought in extra staff to cope with the demonstration, which is expected to cause chaos to schedules.

There are fears traffic will be gridlocked at Calais and concerns, if that happens, that Operation Stack may have to be implemented. A spokesman for the owners confirmed that the Manston site was on standby to take HGVs should it be required.
Speaking last week the chief executive of the Road Haulage Association Richard Burnett said the effects of a blockade at the port would have a massive impact on UK-bound hauliers.

Dover MP Charlie Elphicke said: "While I have the deepest sympathy for the people of Calais, Monday's demonstration will achieve nothing other than chaos on the roads of France and Kent. What's needed is real action to tackle the causes of this crisis."

Click here to see some video footage at

Photo credit: Twitter Juan Maza Calleja

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