Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said last week that the authorities would not conduct a “brutal evacuation” of the camp, but as workers tore down tents and dismantled ramshackle huts, clashes erupted. Some migrants lit shacks on fire to protest their evictions and threw rocks at police officers in riot gear, who pushed the migrants back with tear gas and water cannons. About 100 officers had been deployed to safeguard the site.
François Guennoc, an activist with the Auberge des Migrants, an association in Calais that helps migrants, said in a telephone interview that the situation was “very tense” and that there was “absolutely no more trust” in the government because it had not delivered on its promise to calmly evacuate the camp.
“The destruction of the shantytown is not the solution,” Mr. Guennoc said. “That won’t remove their project to go to Great Britain,” he said of the migrants, noting that crossing the English Channel via ferries or the Channel Tunnel had become extremely difficult but not impossible.