Accessibility links

France Bolsters Security as Migrants Storm Eurotunnel

  • VOA News

A car of the security society of Eurotunnel follows a group of migrants in Calais, France, July 29, 2015.

A car of the security society of Eurotunnel follows a group of migrants in Calais, France, July 29, 2015.

Desperate migrants again rushed the Eurotunnel terminal in Calais, France, late Wednesday in a renewed effort to get to England.

French authorities deployed more than 100 riot police to bolster security personnel.

Hundreds of migrants have been trying night after night to rush the railway tunnel leading to England. Authorities in Calais, a northern port city, said they encountered more than 1,500 migrants Tuesday night, after 2,000 attempts the previous night.

French media reported that a Sudanese man died trying to cross early Wednesday. He was believed to have been hit by a truck. That brought to nine the number of people who have died trying to cross into England since early June.

Eurotunnel, the company that operates the tunnel between France and England, said Wednesday that it had blocked more than 37,000 migrants trying to cross illegally from continental Europe to Britain since the beginning of the year. The company said France and Britain needed to do more to help it cope with the rising numbers of migrants flooding into the area.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is currently in Singapore, said Britain was doing everything it could, in cooperation with France, to prevent disturbances as the Eurotunnel site.

As many as 10,000 migrants from Africa, the Middle East and beyond are living in squalid encampments in and near Calais, a city of 70,000. Observers say their push to enter the 50-kilometer undersea tunnel intensified in recent weeks after authorities stepped up port security to block migrants from stowing away on Britain-bound vessels.

Monday's tunnel confrontation caused major delays in Eurotunnel service for much of Tuesday.

Eurotunnel train service and vehicle traffic also was suspended overnight Saturday into Sunday, in a similar confrontation between migrants and police.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, speaking Tuesday, told the French news agency AFP that police made some arrests, but he did not offer details. His British counterpart, Home Secretary Theresa May, said her government would put up an additional $10.8 million to help France secure the Eurotunnel site with new fencing.

Cameron has rebuffed attempts by European leaders to force Britain to take quotas of refugees who have crossed the Mediterranean in search of better lives.

Pressed at an EU summit by Germany, Italy and other nations to take more refugees flooding the continent, Cameron invoked an EU procedure to block those demands. Other European leaders eventually agreed to resettle 60,000 refugees on a voluntary basis.

Britain's Guardian newspaper says as many as 150 migrants are arriving daily in Calais, triggering high-level warnings that as many as 10,000 migrants could try to enter Britain by the end of August.

Show comments

XS
SM
MD
LG