A show overshadowed by the death of a Nigerian immigrant in a very precarious situation, a fact that has again reopened the controversy about the reception conditions in this town that, due to its proximity to the British coast, has long been a magnet for the entire Looking to reach the United Kingdom. Attempts that, before the threat of Brexit, have been fired since last year.
Calais wanted to be a party symbol this long weekend, with several activities scheduled around a monumental metallic dragon that has attracted this coastal town in northwestern France to tens of thousands of curious.
So far in 2019, the authorities have registered 237 collective attempts to reach the British coast from France, compared to 71 in 2018 and only 12 in 2017. Until August, the French maritime prefecture had intercepted more than 1,400 migrants trying to cross the English Channel.
Compared to 586 in 2018 one of the last attempts took place last week when authorities intercepted 30 people, including seven minors, who were trying to reach the British coast aboard two vessels. According to the French press, last month for the first time two migrants were found dead on a French beach, in Touquet, south of Calais.
Currently, between 400 and 500 migrants await an opportunity to reach British territory in Calais. One of them, a Nigerian in his 25s, will no longer be able to. The body of the young man, who died intoxicated by carbon monoxide after having made “a small fire in a can of food for heating and cooking,” was found Friday in his precarious tent installed on a street in the center of Calais. According to the prefecture, this is the third death of a migrant in Calais regardless of those killed in attempts to reach the British coast – so far this year.
On the eve of the last death, several associations that organize distribute food and provide minimal services to these people who arrive in Calais to try to make the jump to the United Kingdom – well looking to ride a transport truck or in precarious boats with which they try to cross the English Channel – they had denounced the “hate speech” they claim was a decree issued by the city mayor, Natacha Bouchart, reports the France Presse Agency.
In view of the festivities around the “dragon of Calais”, the governor of the conservative party Los Republicans, issued a decree in mid-October prohibiting the distribution of food in the center of the city to migrants, arguing “problems of order public generated by the agglomeration ”.
The order was also criticized by several leftist parties that, in a joint statement entitled “the decree of shame,” denounced “a new episode in an unhealthy but well-oiled political strategy that stigmatizes and divides instead of uniting and encouraging sharing ”
And it is not the first incident with this mayor, known for her hard hand before migrants to prevent a new jungle of Calais from re-forming, the gigantic camp that came to house 10,000 people before it was dismantled by French authorities, three years ago.
In July 2017, the State Council, the largest administrative judicial instance in the country, had to intervene so that both the governor and the Government of Emmanuel Macron implemented a court order that urged them to provide minimum services to migrants.
In addition to providing, to those who so requested, the trip to the reception and orientation centers established in various parts of the country to process asylum requests. A month earlier, the Ombudsman Jacques Toubon, the equivalent of the Ombudsman, had denounced the “inhuman living conditions” and the “attacks on fundamental rights” of migrants in Calais.
Calais however is not a unique case in France. In fact, the highest concentration of undocumented immigrants in a precarious situation is in the capital, Paris, where, according to a last count by the newspaper Le Parisien in October, between 2,500 and 3,000 undocumented people sleep in tents and are subject to conditions unworthy, as recognized by the local authorities themselves.