Clearance of "Jungle of Calais" gets underway

Construction workers have begun clearing the southern section of the "Jungle of Calais" using heavy machinery, while inhabitants and relief organisations continue to protest. The Administrative Court of Lille gave permission for the clearance last week. Commentators accuse the government in Paris of undemocratic behaviour.

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Mediapart (FR) /

French government disregards rule of law

There has been no sign of the caution the French government announced it would use in clearing the "Jungle", a group of academics and NGOs write in an appeal published by the left-leaning online daily Mediapart:

“We must face up to the fact that this clearance is neither progressive nor humane, and that it doesn't take individual cases into account: the whole thing is being approached as if the object were to punish all those who still want to make it as far as the UK. ... Now, however, the masks are falling. ... The judiciary has failed to give the government permission to chase off the refugees. Everywhere voices are calling for reception centres to be set up for people fleeing their war-torn, devastated countries. These voices will not be silenced. And they must be heeded. Let us remember that asylum is a right; the repression of refugees is thus a denial of democracy.”

Libération (FR) /

Calais testifies to France's powerlessness

The French authorities have failed miserably in the refugee crisis, filmmaker Nicolas Klotz writes in a commentary for the centre-left daily Libération:

“Is there nothing but repression, police brutality, hatred and fear in France? ... How are we to explain to the refugees that the French police are just doing the dirty work for their English colleagues? ... Government hypocrisy, chaos, the deliberate dissemination of false information by the authorities, pure violence, fear and exclusion have reached such proportions in France that one simply has to ask how a general escalation can be prevented in the coming months - if not through a true European initiative of historic dimensions.”

Le Soir (BE) /

EU must come to its senses

The EU states must make and implement decisions together in the refugee crisis, the liberal daily Le Soir stresses:

“The French must not be left in the lurch on Calais. And the same goes for all the other European hotspots where it's clear that far from being a solution, fences only exacerbate hatred, rejection and demonisation. Some think the border fences offer a breather, but that's an illusion. Only joint decision-making by Europe's leaders and firmness in implementing solutions will make the transition bearable both for the refugees and the countries concerned. That requires hard work on the part of our leaders. They must put an end to the populist tirades and jointly defend mechanisms based on reason rather than instinct.”