As French Government Threatens to Destroy Camp, Refugees Defiant

Migrants and refugees are vowing to peacefully defy the French government’s imminent plans to destroy the makeshift homes of up to 2,000 people living in the Calais camp known as the “Jungle.”

The government has given residents just days to leave before roughly a third of the camp, located in northern France, is bulldozed. The initial deadline of Thursday was moved to Monday, but some groups argue that residents are already facing displacement—through intimidation and pressure.

The Calais camp houses roughly 5,000 people who have fled war, violence, and poverty in countries including  Sudan, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Syria, Iran, Iraq—and then survived dangerous voyages by land and sea. Residents are hoping for refuge and sanctuary, with some seeking to reach the United Kingdom.

The impending destruction is slated to displace a significant proportion of residents. Some are now pledging to resist their forcible removal.

“We, the united people of the Jungle, Calais, respectfully decline the demands of the French government with regards to reducing the size of the Jungle,” residents declared in a statement released on Monday night. “We have decided to remain where we are and will peacefully resist the government’s plans to destroy our homes.”

“We plead with the French authorities and the international communities that you understand our situation,” the statement continued.

Authorities want those displaced to move to other parts of the camp, or a new government facility—claiming that the space offers better accommodations.