Tuesday, June 23

"We are all immigrants and we all want to get to England” - Illegals in France take advantage of Calais chunnel closing chaos UPDATED 2X

UPDATE 6/24 5:35 AM EDT:  Channel Tunnel services return to normal after strike

Also, report today from the BBC on the "Calais migrant chaos" yesterday.   

UPDATE 6/23: Video and 7:04 PM news report from NBC News on the chunnel closing and migrants trying to take advantage of the ensuing chaos, which could continue until Friday. (Channel Tunnel Chaos: Stranded Travelers Told to Wait Till FridayOne stranded British motorist angrily told NBC that the migrants weren't refugees, that they wanted to get into the UK to take advantage of the country's (welfare) benefits.    

From the photos and anecdotal accounts in a (UK) Telegraph report it seems hundreds rather than scores  of  'refugees' were involved. Looks like the situation has been going on for a long time before the chunnel chaos (see links to earlier Telegraph reports in the report below). It's just that the chaos made it international news -- and brought pressure on British authorities.  

What do the illegals say about why they want to leave France?  France isn't good enough for them, from what one of them told the Telegraph. The French treat them like animals, he said, whereas the British treat them like humans.  

Uh, when you're a refugee from a place like Syria, you're complaining about French attitude?            

By Henry Samuel, Calais
12:47AM BST - 24 Jun 2015
The Telegraph

Hundreds of British motorists were stranded in Calais on Tuesday night, many stuck for hours in traffic jams after being taken by surprise by a wildcat strike exploited by scores of desperate migrants. [From the report and pix it could be hundreds rather than "scores"] 

French ferry workers initiated the chaos in England and France by blocking the port and entrance to the Channel tunnel, even burning tyres on the tracks.

Hundreds of illegal migrants then seized on the miles of tailbacks caused by the blockages to try and jump onto lorries bound for the UK without being spotted.

James Brokenshire, the Immigration Minister, told the BBC: "We are putting additional resourcing into the port of Dover to enhance screenings and detections there so that we're looking at this on both sides of the Channel."

He said the current situation was "hugely regrettable", but that is was “ultimately” the responsibility of the French authorities to tackle the chaos seen throughout Tuesday in Calais.

The migrants lined junction 42 of the A16 motorway, the main entrance for cars and lorries taking the Eurotunnel to the UK, approaching trucks in small groups and trying to board by all possible means throughout the night.

Eurotunnel said the number of migrants in the Calais area was the “highest ever” as stranded motorists were warned to keep their doors locked. Truck drivers were advised not to stop within 60 miles of the port, congregate with other drivers and make sure padlocks were kept on vehicles.

With Calais ferries, Eurostar and Eurotunnel services expected to face huge delays into Wednesday, Britons who tried to find rooms in a string of hotels in and around the port before sunset to avoid spending the night sleeping in their vehicles.

Daniel Hunt, 40, from Balcombe, Sussex, was returning to the UK from Belgium with his father and brother after visiting Second World War bomber crash sites.

“We saw loads of migrants as we drove down the line of traffic trying to get into trucks,” he said. “We had heard stories of migrants trying to get into cars and we thought if night falls it’s only going to get worse. The last thing you want is to fall asleep in your car to find you’ve been joined by someone in the night.”

“What’s shocking is to see how blatant the migrants’ attempts to get in were. It looked to me like the police were turning a bit of a blind eye unless there was real trouble. They were not really being deterred, and were allowed to walk around the trucks.”


After nightfall on Tuesday, dozens of gendarmes in fluorescent jackets lined either side of the road as groups of migrants waited for a moment of inattention to sneak on board lorries, which were still moving at a crawl towards the Eurotunnel terminal.

The Telegraph saw gendarmes open the back of a Dutch truck and pull out two migrants who had hidden in amongst cardboard crates of what looked like vegetables.

“This is the first time I’ve ever had any in my lorry,” said trucker Adam Zoon who had driven from Rotterdam. “I feel bad as they are poor and with nothing. But they are stopping me doing my job,” he said as another migrant was pulled out from a neighbouring truck.

Illegal immigrants caught at UK border more than doubled last year, says 'British FBI'

The police simply let all the stowaways go and they were welcomed by a group of Syrians and Eritreans who patted them on the back.

Ali, a 29-year-old from Syria and who arrived 34 days ago, said he had managed to hide in the back of a lorry and “almost made it” to the tunnel entrance. “The lorry driver must have sensed I was there because police opened up, shouted and pulled me out,” he said.

He said that he had heard about the ferry workers strike, and that all the trucks had been diverted to the tunnel.

“News travels fast here. We are all immigrants and we all want to get to England.”

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“They are even more strict than usual and are checking every vehicle,” he said. Despite this, he knew of one fellow countryman who had got through. “I would think that around 50 will make it to the UK tonight,” he said.

“We don’t want to stay in France as they treat us like animals. In England, they treat us like humans,” he said. “We don’t want to come for tourism, but to escape war, to find peace and safety. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get to work.”

A Gendarmerie spokesman said: "We have mobilised more units than usual given the exceptional circumstances. It's clear there are many more migrants than normal."



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