Europe

Calais 'Jungle': Migrant church and mosque demolished

French police officers stand guard as an excavator knocks down buildings including a makeshift mosque and Evangelical Church Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption No-one was hurt during the demolitions, French officials said

French authorities have demolished a makeshift church and mosque at the Calais camp known as the Jungle.

The move was part of a plan to clear a 100m (328ft) security zone around the camp's perimeter, an official told AP.

But some migrants and activists said the places of worship had not been included in the demolition plans, local media reported.

The Jungle is used by about 5,000 migrants who say they want to reach the UK.

The church's pastor clashed with police during the demolition but the mosque had already been abandoned and there were no protests, the unnamed official said.

No-one was hurt and the migrants were free to build new churches and mosques, the official added.

Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption The church's pastor attempted to stop it being demolished

However, civil society groups working in the camp claimed the authorities had promised not to demolish them in the first place.

"It was agreed that the church and the mosque would stay. By demolishing them, the authorities are showing contempt for NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and are seeking conflict with the migrants who used these places," said Christian Salome of the NGO Auberge des Migrants, the Voix du Nord newspaper reported.


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There is still a church and about six mosques in the Jungle, Mr Salome added.

The French authorities have been clearing a 100m zone between the Jungle and a nearby motorway.

They have also encouraged the migrants inside the camp to move into new accommodation made from shipping containers.

The 125 converted containers are equipped with electricity, heating and bunk beds, and each one can accommodate 12 people.

About 1,000 migrants have taken up the offer, but others refused and moved their tents further inside the Jungle, despite the poor living conditions.