Migrants vow to continue trying to reach England after French cops smash up 'New Jungle'
Migrants evicted from the huge 'New Jungle' camp near Dunkirk by French police have insisted that 'it won't stop us getting to the UK.'
More than 1,500 people had been living rough in tents and makeshift shelters in the cramped space beside old warehouse buildings in the commune of Grand-Synthe, but hundreds of French police moved in to flatten the camp which had been likened to the notorious Calais Jungle which was broken up in 2017.
One Iraqi Kurd who had been living at the camp said: 'They are taking people to Lille and other places – but it is not going to make any difference. It won't stop us getting to the UK.
'Everyone is still going to find a way of coming back here so they can stand a chance of getting to England. I have lost my home in the camp, but I will just stay somewhere else tonight.
'It could be in a hotel or in one of the other camps in the area. There are lots of people camping out in the woods and places.'
Officers with riot shields faced little opposition on Tuesday morning as they entered the camp which is believed to have been managed by gangs of people traffickers.
Entrances to the site were blocked by police to prevent migrants from leaving until they were allowed out in small groups at a time.
Giant skips were seen being transported into the site as smoke rose from minor fires started by cooking stoves in the piles of debris.
Firefighters stood by with their appliances, but were not seen entering the camp which had more than trebled in size in a month.
The Prefecture of the du Nord region said more than 400 migrants at the camp had agreed to leave Dunkirk and be taken by coach to shelters all over France including one at Lille.
A statement added that 32 people suspected to be smugglers or to be involved in other criminal activities were being detained by police.
The operation is said to be aimed at moving migrants into 'adapted facilities' where they are to be informed of their rights, including the possibility to request asylum in France. The statement said: 'The operation is continuing.'
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin tweeted on Tuesday that police had been sent to dismantle the camp, located on dis-used industrial land.
Migrants have been gathering at the Grande-Synthe site since at least March this year, when French police last cleared the camp out.
Aiming to stop the migrants returning, officers dug up waste land on which they had been camped. But this only prompted them to move to a nearby industrial site, and into the ruins of an old paper mill.
Migrants began gathering at the new camp around September when there were just a few hundred of them living there. But numbers trebled in just a matter of weeks, and stood around 1,500 by the time police moved in.
Most of those camped at the site, which is located 20 miles from Calais, had been hoping to reach the UK.