French lorry drivers put pressure on government to tackle Calais camp
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has weighed in on the situation surrounding the migrant camp in Calais. Recent events in the area have raised concerns for haulage businesses and their drivers, after protesting locals have caused disruption.
Earlier this month, convoys of trucks and lorries from the nearby towns of Dunkirk and Boulogne staged a blockade on the A16 motorway – the major access point for the Calais ferry port. Alongside local businesses, farmers joined the convoys in their tractors and hundreds of people marched to form a human barrier to protest the migrant camp known as the “Jungle”.
It’s estimated that around 7,000 people now occupy the camp that locals say undermines the town of Calais. The “Jungle” is also seen as the last stop on the way to Britain for many asylum seekers, who may see large goods vehicles as their way into Dover.
The French government has agreed to remove the camp before the end of 2016, leaving protest organisers optimistic. However, the protest group – which includes the mayor of Calais – are not opposed to further action later in the year if no progress is made.
For many years, drivers have tried to keep migrants out of their vehicles, which has lead to escalating cases of violence. In recent months, hostile behaviour has resulted in migrants throwing heavy objects and sharpened tree branches to force their way on-board.
Because of this, the FTA has expressed concerns that drivers caught up by the blockade may become “sitting targets” for further attacks. While the FTA doesn’t necessarily support the action, however, EU Affairs Manager Chris Yarsley stated: “we do share the concerns of those protesting that something needs to be done to solve the ongoing migrant crisis in Calais.”