France clears Dunkirk migrant camp amid UK tensions

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France has dismantled a large migrant camp on its northern coast where increasing numbers of people hoping to reach the UK had settled. French officers pulled down tents and evacuated up to 1,500 migrants from the site, near Dunkirk, early on Tuesday. Authorities also say they have arrested 13 suspected people smugglers. France is in a row with the UK over its handling of rising numbers of migrants trying to cross the English Channel from camps in northern France. Last Thursday 1,185 people made the often dangerous crossing, a record number that the UK government said was “unacceptable”. The UK has accused French authorities of not doing enough to control the crossings, and called on them to clamp down on people smuggling. France meanwhile has accused the UK government of blowing the scale of migration out of proportion for political reasons, and failing to deter people from making the crossing. The issue has damaged UK-France relations, which were already strained over a number of issues, ranging from fishing rights in the Channel, to a deal with Australia on nuclear submarines.

France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said on Tuesday morning that the migrant camp in the Dunkirk suburb of Grande-Synthe was being evacuated on his instruction.(BBC)…[+]