The Daily Mail
Riot police descend on Calais as anarchists incite migrants to ‘tear down border controls and make for Britain’
By PETER ALLEN
Hundreds of armed riot police began arriving in Calais today as anarchists pledged to mobilise migrants to ‘tear down border controls and make for Britain’.
More than 2,000 protesters are expected in the northern French port for a week of action.
They want the illegal migrants sleeping rough in the area to be able to get over to the UK as quickly as possible, even if it means fighting the forces of law and order.
Local authorities are taking the situation so seriously that they have already drafted detachments of elite CRS riot control officers into the town.
'We’re prepared for the worst,' said Jean-Philippe Joubert, state prosecutor from nearby Boulogne-sur-Mer.
'Emergency magistrates will also be mobilised to ensure that anyone causing trouble will be imprisoned immediately.
'We don’t know exactly what this group intend to do, but we won’t take any chances. Whatever happens, we’re ready to react.'
A group calling itself ‘No Borders’ is advertising a ‘Freedom of Movement’ camp in Calais next week.
It is calling on protesters from Britain and other European countries to join them in ‘tearing down borders.’
‘Calais is a symbol of injustices committed against the world’s migrants,’ said one, a French anarchist who asked to be referred to as Thierry.
He has already pitched a tent next to the CRS’s temporary quarters next door to Calais port, and expects to be joined by thousands like him.
‘The authorities are taking us very seriously,’ said Thierry. ‘We intend to encourage migrants to ignore border controls and get over to Britain en masse.’
Some 2,000 migrants are based in the Calais area, with many playing a regular game of cat and mouse with the police as they try to get to Britain by stowing away on lorries and trains. There they will claim asylum or disappear into the black economy.
Although the French have pledged to tear down migrants camps in Calais itself, many believe Britain should accept all the migrants who want to go there.
Last month Natacha Bouchart, the mayor of Calais, said the UK’s lax asylum system and benefits culture had ‘imposed’ thousands of illegal migrants on her town.
In a blistering attack in which she also called for millions in compensation, Mrs Bouchart said the UK was entirely to blame for the those who use the port as a staging point.
Mrs Bouchart, a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling UMP Party, even called for border controls to be lifted to allow all migrants to flood across the Channel at the earliest opportunity.
Such views are heartily supported by the militants organizing the ‘No Border’ demonstrations, which are set to run between June 23 and 29.
A Calais police spokesman said: ‘Extra officers, including CRS, are being drafted into Calais from a 100 mile radius in order to deal with a threat to public order posed by anti-immigration protestors.
‘The reinforcements have already arrived, with the demonstrations due to start properly next week.’