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French Police, Migrants Clash Outside Jungle Camp | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech after a meeting with officers of the French Gendarmerie in Calais as part of his visit to the northern French port. Thibault Vandermersch/ Reuters

French police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse some 200 migrants and activists after clashes broke out Saturday as they attempted to hold a banned rally outside the squalid “Jungle” camp in Calais, local authorities said.

Three police officers were slightly injured from stones hurled by some of the migrants, they added.

A demonstration in support of the migrants had been planned for Saturday but it was banned by local authorities.

Then on Saturday afternoon, “200 people, mainly from the No Borders group and migrants gathered in front of the CRS (riot police)” on the outskirts of the camp, said Etienne Desplanques, an official of the Pas-de-Calais region.

Since the gathering was banned, police sought to push the protesters back inside the camp, he said.

Resorting to tear gas and water cannon, police brought the situation under control in 20 minutes, he added.

An AFP photographer said he was also slightly injured from the stone-throwing.

Another 150 protesters who left Paris aboard four coaches were blocked by police at a toll road about 48 km short of the northern port.

Between 7,000 and 10,000 migrants are currently living in the “Jungle”, a launchpad for people’s desperate attempts to stow away on lorries heading across the Channel to England, where they hope to settle.

The presence of the migrants has led to tension with some residents and a permanent police deployment.

French President Francois Hollande on Monday said the sprawling migrant camp in Calais would be dismantled by the end of this year under a plan to spread asylum seekers around the country.