According to the northern municipality, nearly 1,500 people, mostly Kurds, live in this camp in the hope of reaching the UK.
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The police began, Tuesday, November 16, the dismantling of a camp of about a thousand migrants in Grande-Synthe (North), against a backdrop of tensions between Paris and London around the issue of migration and protest of the treatment reserved for exiles on the French coast. “On my instruction, the police are proceeding with the evacuation of the illegal migrant encampment in Grande-Synthe this morning”, wrote the Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, on Twitter.
On my instruction, the police are proceeding with the evacuation of the illegal migrant encampment in Grande-Synthe this morning.
Thank you to the police and gendarmes mobilized, as well as to the agents of the @prefet59 which ensure their shelter.
— Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) November 16, 2021
According to the prefecture of the North, the evacuated camp is “the main” of Grande-Synthe. Migrants must be taken to centers “where accommodation places have been identified in the north and other regions”. According to the office of the socialist mayor of Grande-Synthe, Martial Beyaert, nearly 1,500 people, mostly Kurds, live in the camp located on a former industrial wasteland.
For years, migrants have flocked to the Hauts-de-France coast, to Grande-Synthe or Calais, in the hope of going to the United Kingdom, where they think they can find work. According to the United Kingdom, 22,000 migrants have managed to reach the British coast in small boats since the start of the year. The human toll rises to three dead and four missing.
Diplomatically, tensions between London and Paris escalated further last week, after the number of illegal crossings hit a daily record with 1,185 migrants successfully crossing the Channel. A situation “unacceptable” for the United Kingdom. Gérald Darmanin replied on Monday that France had “no lessons to be received from the British”.