Thursday’s violent scenes at Calais have been described by the FTA as “unprecedented”. Manager of road freight and enforcement policy Chris Yarsley said he saw “thousands” of migrants attacking trucks queuing on the motorway when he was touring Eurotunnel facilities.
Yarsley was attending a round-table meeting with the IRU and Border Force at Calais to discuss security at the port.
Yarsley said: “I am flabbergasted at what I have seen today; there were literally thousands of migrants benefitting from the queue of slow moving traffic on the roads around Calais. They were attacking vehicles; breaking the locks of trucks, slashing roofs of the lorries and climbing in the back of them.
“French Police were highly visible and were taking extreme measures to break up the crowds including using tear gas and closing the motorway to control the situation, but appeared to be overwhelmed by the numbers. The migrants appeared to be organised in their attacks, as we were told of disturbances in the town centre which diverted police attention allowing opportunities for incursion attempts, and migrants took advantage of traffic being slowed on the road outside of the security fencing.”
A spokesperson from Eurotunnel said there were a large number of migrants on the motorway and in the town, but that no one got into the terminal. He confirmed that there were no disruptions at Eurotunnel.
“Increases in security at the Channel Tunnel since the summer mean that migrants cannot get into the terminal,” said the Eurotunnel spokesperson.
“This is leading to frustration in the camp, which is unfortunately manifesting itself in this activity on the motorway. The police are doing a very good job of containing the problem and preventing it from affecting cross-Channel services”