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France police tear down makeshift refugee camp on Channel coast

A child, looks out from his family's tent in the new Jungle in Dunkirk on November 25, 2021 in Dunkirk, France. [Kiran Ridley/Getty Images]
A child, looks out from his family's tent in the new Jungle in Dunkirk on November 25, 2021 in Dunkirk, France. [Kiran Ridley/Getty Images]

Police today began dismantling a makeshift camp near the northern French port of Dunkirk where scores of refugees and migrants who say they are fleeing war, poverty and persecution in the Middle East were hunkered down with hopes of reaching Britain, Reuters reports.

A Reuters reporter saw armed officers enter the camp, which runs along a disused railway line, before workers in protective suits started pulling down tents and plastic shelters.

The police routinely tear up the camps. Evictions at the Grande-Synthe site had been taking place on a weekly basis for the past few weeks, one charity worker said.

Twenty-seven migrants drowned in the Channel last week as they attempted to make the perilous crossing from France to Britain across busy shipping lanes in a dinghy that deflated in the open sea.

The migrants are typically transported to holding centres scattered across the country where they are encouraged to file for asylum, though many quickly make their way back to the Channel coast.

Hussein Hamid, 25, an Iranian Kurd, said it was the second time he had been evicted. On the first occasion, he was bussed to Lyon 760 kilometres to the south.

READ: Asylum seekers who steered boats to UK shores fight against 'smuggling' convictions

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