Misery for Brit holidaymakers as 180 French lorries and tractors begin crippling Calais blockade calling for demolition of Jungle migrant camp
FRENCH farmers and truckers are blocking off main routes in and out of Calais today in a desperate bid to force the closure of the “Jungle” migrant camp.
Under a light rain, around 70 trucks began a “go-slow” on the main A16 motorway – the main artery for freight and passengers heading for Britain.
The “go-slow” is designed to grind traffic down to a slow pace before residents form a “human chain” blockade around the port later today.
Although French authorities have vowed to close the camp, protesters want them to set a timeline and date.
Half the camp has already been torn down, but it is still home to at least 7,000 migrants, a record population high.
Frederic Van Gansbeke, who represents businesses and shop-owners in Calais, said: “We’ve had no answers, so we’re blocking things up.”
Nicolas Lotin, who runs a logistics company in nearby Boulogne-sur-Mer said: “Every day, we have to wonder whether our working day will be ruined, whether a migrant will sneak under the truck’s canvas.
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Britain’s Road Haulage Association chief executive Richard Burnett said it seems “certain” that traffic crossing from the UK will find it “impossible to leave the port as access to the A16 is denied”.
“If the goods are damaged, they have to be immediately transported back to the home depot.”
Migrants from the “Jungle” often create their own road blocks to slow trucks heading for Britain, seen as an El Dorado. By slowing the vehicles, they hope to stow away aboard.
In recent months these road blocks have become increasingly violent, with gangs armed with bats and tyre irons threatening drivers.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazneneuve vowed last week to close the sprawling camp “as rapidly as possible”.
Charities helping the migrants in the camp say the real figure is as high as 10,000.
At the weekend, Dover MP Charlie Elphicke warned it was only a matter of time before someone was killed trying to make the crossing.
David Sagnard, president of FNTR national truck drivers’ federation, said: “We have to do this. We have to escalate things, because for months now the situation has been getting worse and worse.
“Before, it was just attempts to get on trucks. Now there is looting and wilful destruction, tarpaulins are slashed, goods stolen or destroyed … Drivers go to work with fear in their bellies and the economic consequences are severe.”
Meanwhile, French officials have revealed UK-bound migrants are building up to 30 barricades a night to try and attack vehicles travelling through Calais.
The astonishing figure emerged after a team of British journalists came close to being killed after a gang targeted their car last week.
Three migrants threw a log at their Audi, forcing it into the path of a 38-ton juggernaut that left the Mail on Sunday team with head wounds and back injuries.
Dedicated teams now spend every night trying to keep the roads around Calais clear of migrants and their debris.
Xavier Delebarre, who is in charge of France’s northern road network, said they were all continually coming under attack, and that there are “between 25 and 30 barricades per night”.
Mr Delebarre told Liberation newspaper: “They have tools, electric chainsaws that can be bought anywhere for fifteen euros.
“There is a strategy in their concerted attacks, they launch simultaneous assaults, and also diversions.”
Mr Delebarre said it all amounted to a sinister game, with migrants throwing branches at cars, as well as setting up the barricades.
He said: “Migrants build barricades by piling different materials on the road, including branches, as well as mattresses and trash.
“They set it on fire, and then put gas cylinders in the fire, which is very worrying. They create traffic jams to storm the trucks, so they can board them to try to get to England.”
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