Five shot during violent clashes between migrants in Calais

03 February 2018, 07:23 | Isaac Mcdaniel

A migrant receives medical assistance by rescue workers following clashes near the ferry port in Calais northern France on February 1

A migrant receives medical assistance by rescue workers following clashes near the ferry port in Calais northern France on February 1

The move came after 22 migrants were injured in the latest clashes between the Afghans and Eritreans who form the biggest groups of migrants in Calais.

Fights usually break out over the routes that migrants use to get into the United Kingdom, where they will claim asylum.

It is claimed the fighting began after an Afghan fired a gun, resulting in clashes for nearly two hours between around 100 Eritreans and roughly 30 Afghans, who had been waiting for food.

Five migrants were shot during a brawl between Afghan and Eritrean migrants while they were queueing for food handouts on Thursday.

Two police officers were also injured in the clashes.

Interior minister speaks of 'a degree of violence never witnessed'.

At least three were in a life-threatening condition as French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said he was on the way to the port town to deal with the emergency.

Calais mayor said Natacha Bouchart reacted with fury to theincidents, saying such violence "was absolutely unacceptable".

France received a record number of asylum claims a year ago - 100,000 compared with 85,000 in 2016 - but no other town has embodied the challenges posed by immigration more than Calais, where a squalid encampment known as the Jungle was once home to more than 10,000 people before it was dismantled in 2016.

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Calling Calais "a wall which the migrants are slamming into", he said: "The message I want to get across is that if you want to go to Britain, it's not here you should come".

More than 1,000 children and adults sleep rough in the channel ports of Calais and Dunkirk, a decline from the days when 7,000 lived in the now-demolished Jungle camp, which was closed in 2016.

"In no case will we allow another "Jungle" here", Macron said in a speech during a visit to Calais last month.

Charities and some of the president's allies have accused the government of taking a hard line on immigration.

In January, Macron responded to some of these critiques, notably a scathing report published by Human Rights Watch in July 2017.

On Twitter, Collomb confirmed that "reinforcements will be deployed to ensure public safety and preserve the Republican order in Calais".

Groups of migrants have also frequently clashed with the police, who systematically tear down their encampments and intervene to prevent them from boarding trucks.

"They don't have access to legal assistance or even sleeping bags. The terrible living conditions have been creating tensions", she told The Independent.

That, he said, would remove an incentive for the migrants to gather in Calais. "And then you have the smugglers trying to make money on people's misery".

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