Police clear 500 migrants from French port after clashes

PARIS (AP) — Several hundred police on Friday cleared out a makeshift migrant camp in the northern French port city of Calais, a magnet for people trying to get into Britain illegally across the English Channel.

The prefecture of the Pas-de-Calais region said about 500 migrants were removed from several structures near the Calais hospital and taken to centers in northern France and elsewhere. About 30 children were among those removed.

The operation came two days after violent clashes between scores of migrants and police in two locations, including near the hospital. A second confrontation took place on the road leading to the port where ferries ply the English Channel between France and Britain. Seven riot police were treated for injuries at the hospital, the prefecture said.

Friday’s sweep came on instructions from Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and a court order. The prefecture linked the operation to the clashes, saying in a statement that the illegal occupation of the structures “generated serious trouble to public order.”

Makeshift camps set up by migrants in Calais, most often outdoors, are occasionally cleared on court orders, but the numbers of migrants concerned are far smaller.

Before Friday’s operation, there were an estimated 1,000 migrants in Calais — once the home to a vast camp of thousands of migrants that was cleared in 2016.

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