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French Riot Police Clash with Migrants Seeking UK Entry

French riot police chase migrants from U.K.-bound lorries making their way to the ferry terminal in Calais, Oct. 22, 2014.

French riot police in Calais used teargas on Wednesday to ward off hundreds of immigrants seeking to jump on to trucks bound for Britain in a new escalation of tensions in the northern port town.

It was the second flare-up this week and comes weeks after Britain and France agreed to improve border controls to prevent an estimated 1,500 migrants fleeing humanitarian crises in Africa and the Middle East from crossing the English Channel.

Motorway access to the port was blocked for around an hour and police searched trucks for stowaways, a Reuters reporter in Calais said.

The port has long been a magnet for illegal migrants trying to reach Britain, where they believe they are more likely to find work. Britain is not one of the 26 European states who have abolished internal borders.

In September, the French and British governments announced that the Calais port layout would be changed to make it easier to carry out controls and improve traffic flow, with barriers put up along the bypass leading to the port area.

British and French police forces would also work more closely to dismantle criminal networks seeking to transport migrants to the UK, they added.

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