France Accused of Calais Brutality

France Accused of Calais BrutalityFrance Accused of Calais Brutality

More than a dozen humanitarian organizations on Tuesday accused authorities of brutally evicting migrants from their makeshift dwellings in a sprawling camp in northern France, as fiery protests of the demolition continued.

Thousands of migrants fleeing war and misery in their homelands use the port city of Calais as a springboard to try to get to Britain on the other side of the English Channel. However, authorities are moving to cut short that dream by closing a large swath of the slum camp in the port city of Calais, AP reported.

In the stinging accusation at the close of the second day of a state-ordered mass eviction and demolition operation, the organizations charged that authorities have failed to respect their promise of a humane and progressive operation based on persuading migrants to vacate their tents and tarp-covered homes.

“Refugees, under threats and disinformation, were given one hour to 10 minutes to leave their homes,” a statement said.

Police pulled out some who refused, making arrests in certain cases, while others were not allowed to gather their belongings or identity papers, the statement charged.

Migrants and pro-migrant activists protested against the eviction on Tuesday, some climbing onto shanty rooftops to briefly stall the tear-down, and others by starting a night fire.

The protesting organizations alleged that police aimed flash-balls at the roof protesters, then clubbed them and made some arrests. Tear gas, water cannons and other tactics have been used excessively, the statement charged.

Organizations respected for their humanitarian work with migrants, such as Auberge des Migrants (Migrants’ Shelter), GISTI and Secours Catholique were among the 14 who signed the list of charges.