State security forces expeditiously dismantled yesterday morning a camp of illegal immigrants, Afghans, Iranians, Iranians and Kurds, in Grande-Synthe (23,000 inhabitants), a city that shares the management of the port of Dunkerque (87,000 inhabitants), in the North, confirming the process of ‘bunkerization’ of national borders, including the Franco-Spanish Pyrenees.
Without prior notice, gendarmes, police and firefighters showed up in the early hours of Tuesday morning in the vicinity of a refugee camp. where about 1,000 men, women and children lived, in tents, without services of any kind, in absolute precarious conditions.
Gendarmes and paramilitary units cordoned off the field, very quickly. Loïc Buisson, an eyewitness, recounts the scene this way: “You could hardly see anything.
The sirens of the gendarmerie were scary. The loudspeakers announced the decision to band together and obey the gendarmes. Military trucks waited. Men, women, and children were forced to mount hastily. When the trucks were full, they parked nearby, waiting for the order to leave for an unknown destination.
Here and there, some desperate tried to flee. Some set fire. Gendarmes and policemen imposed order relatively quickly.
The special services were located at about thirty traffickers in human beings. Most tried to escape between the tents. “The security forces cornered and chased them, like rabbits, and did not take long to hunt them down,” says a witness to several radio stations.
Following the dismantling of the Grande-Synthe camp, a thousand illegal refugees were transferred to temporary shelters in the North, the periphery of Paris and other regions of France.
The expeditious dismantling of the Dunkirk / Grande – Synthe camp coincides with the worsening of the border crises with the United Kingdom and the Polish borders, confirming the process of bunkerization of national borders that France began in late 2020, if not much earlier.
According to various humanitarian organizations, between November 1, 2020 and October 31, the state security forces dismantled 1,350 illegal immigrant camps, throughout France. During the same period of time, expulsions of illegal immigrants grew by 30%.
According to official figures from the Ministry of the Interior, in France there are still some 439 ‘irregular’ camps, where some 22,000 people live, in conditions of very high physical and sanitary precariousness.
The proliferation of camps is particularly significant in some regions, not always on the border. The North, the periphery of Paris, Provence and the Gironde (Bordeaux and New Aquitaine) are the regions most affected by the problem.
The border of the Pyrenees between Spain and France has its own place in the process of French bunkerization.
At the end of 2020, the government of Emmanuel Macron decided to close between a dozen and a score of border posts, in the Pyrenees. During the first quarter of this year, the French border police “returned” to Spain more than 15,000 illegal immigrants. They were always immigrants trying to reach France through the Pyrenean borders, from Catalonia to the Basque Country. Faced with such pressure, the French government decided to close border posts.
Pedro Sánchez tried to convince Emmanuel Macron of the reopening of some positions. Unsuccessfully. José Manuel Albares, Minister of Foreign Affairs, former Ambassador to Paris, tries to negotiate the reopening of a dozen border posts. The worsening crises on the borders of Poland and the English Channel, the pressure on the southern border of Spain, complicate the underlying situation.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism