Chaotic scenes in Calais as 'massive invasion' of migrants lead to violence - with British anarchist groups blamed
A 'massive invasion’ of migrants led to fighting deep in the Channel Tunnel today - as French authorities blamed British left wing groups for the 'coordinated attack'.
Fights broke out deep inside the undersea link as around 100 young men attempted to reach Britain.
The gang of migrants were almost 10 miles inside the Channel Tunnel before they were confronted by security guards.
The incident resulted in the suspension of the Eurotunnel, causing chaos for travellers.
French detectives this afternoon said they fear hard left agitators, including ones from Britain, were among those leading the ‘coordinated attack’.
An anarchist group called ‘No Borders’ which campaigns for an end to all nation states and absolute freedom of movement is said to have stepped up its presence in Calais this week.
Later on Saturday, hundreds of migrants living in illegal camps around the port town could be seen throwing stones at lorries, and then trying to clamber aboard them when they stopped.
All are trying to get to Britain, where they will claim asylum or else disappear into the black economy.
Some of the migrants succeeded in getting inside the Tunnel for a ‘distance of up to fifteen kilometers before being stopped by the gendarmes,’ said Fabienne Buccio, prefect for the Pas de Calais.
Ms Buccio said there were 113 migrants involved, all originally from countries such as Eritrea and Sudan.
Some 23 were arrested, while seven were treated for injuries, along with two police officers and a security guard.
Eurotunnel train services were suspended after the alarm was raised just after midnight, following the break in to the secure zone around the Tunnel.
A Eurotunnel spokesman said: “It’s a massive invasion and intrusion by a very large and coordinated group of migrants. They are being gathered up by the police authorities.’
He added: ‘It’s clearly an organised attack when it comes in such a large number, there are over 100 in this one group.
‘They arrived together and in a well-organised manner broke through the fences and all clearly knew where they were going.
‘They ran through the terminal, knocking some staff to the ground and throwing stones at them. There are some minor injuries to staff and also two police officers. They were treated at the scene by paramedics.’
British authorities were working with French police to clear the tracks on Saturday morning, but officials said it would be several hours before normal service resumed.
The Eurotunnel spokesman said: ‘It’s a very co-ordinated and well-managed process but it’s a very large group of people and it’s dark so it will have to be done very carefully.
‘While they are on the track we have, for safety reasons, to suspend the service. Once that’s done we will be able to restart.’
The spokesman suggested that the planned attack was designed to create as much publicity as possible about the worsening migrant crisis.
Referring to the anarchists, an emergency services spokesman in Calais said: ‘They were very clearly helping to break down fences and guiding the migrants in a coordinated attack.
‘Fighting broke out with security guards, and we had to treat around ten migrants. Five ambulances were at the scene.’
In August, police warned of British anarchists who were living in Calais and ‘manipulating’ migrants into using more aggressive tactics.
The head of a major police union said he believed attempts to storm the Channel Tunnel were partly organised by British Left-wingers.
Gilles Debove, from the union Unite SGP-Police FO, said: ‘This is being encouraged not by human traffickers, who wish to remain discreet, but by extreme Left elements here to manipulate the migrants in the name of their ideal of imposing a country without borders or police. Among these activists are quite a few Britons.’
Mr Debove added: ‘It’s time for a return to the rule of law – they need to be identified and arrested. They are seeking opportunities to provoke clashes with the police and violence in the hope that the police will drop their guard.
‘They want to depict us as savages. But if there was any police brutality, it would be all over the news.’
A statement on the No Borders website reads: ‘No Borders is an anti-capitalist movement. Borders are created by, and serve, capitalist elites.’
It adds: ‘Many, though not all, people in the No Borders network also think of ourselves as anarchists. We believe a world without borders must also mean a world without states.’