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After the shocking declarations of Darmanin and Bertrand, an update on the Franco-British migrant crisis

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After the murderous sinking of a boat on Wednesday, November 24, the Franco-British migration crisis has returned to the fore. Sentences shock, diplomatic crisis and deplorable human management, we decipher the situation for you.

From one migration crisis to another. As thousands of people gathered on the border between Poland and Belarus, another human tragedy unfolded on Wednesday, November 24. At least 27 migrants died off Calais in the sinking of their boat that left Dunkirk while trying to reach England.

The emotion quickly gave way to the diplomatic crisis. The already strained relations between France and the United Kingdom (because of the discussions concerning the post-Brexit fishery) have taken another turn with the thorny issue of migration.

In the aftermath of the dramatic sinking, Boris Johnson, the English Prime Minister posted on Twitter a letter addressed to Emmanuel Macron, the French President.

In this letter, the British leader notably proposes “a bilateral readmission agreement to allow the return of all illegal migrants crossing the Channel” to the European Union. A proposal that caused a stir, just like the form used to convey it.

“The migrants used babies and threatened to throw them in water at a few degrees”

The actions of Boris Johnson were deemed “not very serious” by Emmanuel Macron and the crisis meeting on the migration issue of this Sunday, November 28, normally scheduled in the presence of a representative of the United Kingdom, took another turn.

The French Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, finally received only his Belgian, Dutch and German counterparts on Sunday afternoon in Calais, for this meeting devoted to the fight against illegal immigration and smuggling networks.

From this meeting, we will remember “that from December 1, a European Frontex plane was going day and night to help the French police, the Dutch police, the Belgian police to see the crossings and spot the smugglers“, but also another statement from Gérald Darmanin.

Migrants threatened to throw their babies into the water if French police prevented them from leaving by boat, just before the tragedy that killed 27 people #calais pic.twitter.com/QtkJ2WFfET

– Pierre Sautarelski (@FrDesouche) November 29, 2021

Reacting to the remarks of the British press towards the French police officers “who do not intervene”, Gérald Darmanin declared that “what we did not see in these images is that migrants used babies and threatened to throw them in water at a few degrees, if (the police) came to arrest them“. Before continuing:” In these cases, as Minister of the Interior, my instruction is not to intervene. We cannot endanger the lives of children, of old people, who are sometimes tipped over in the sea. “

Xavier Bertrand’s radical idea

This Monday, November 29, Gérald Darmanin, guest on the set of BFM TV, once again put pressure on its British counterparts.

“That they (the British) change their legislation, take responsibility“, he asked, explaining that he wants the United Kingdom to change its rules on the employment of illegal immigrants, rules which create this one”a call for air“.

Xavier Bertrand, candidate for the nomination Les Républicains (LR) for the 2022 presidential election, wants to go much further than discussions. Guest on France Info this Monday, November 29, he proposes to “let” the migrants “take the ferry” to Great Britain and to establish a “balance of power” with Boris Johnson.

An idea which made the political class react, from François Bayrou to Clément Beaune, Secretary of State for European Affairs, who demanded this Monday on France Inter “a little serious because we do not play with human lives in the goal to create a balance of power “.

Torn tents, the practice of discord

But if France is trying to return the hot potato to the United Kingdom, its management of the migratory situation on its soil is also debated. Asked about the need to resort to immigration in France, Gérald Darmanin estimated on BFM TV “that there are times when we need immigration, and there are times when we have to regulate”.

And this regulation involves the dismantling of camps and practices pinned down by associations. For several months, the journalists present in Calais have regularly published photos of the destruction of camps. These images make people react regularly, especially during this winter period.

On this issue of tents lacerations, Gérald Darmanin also spoke about BFM TV.

“A private company has been hired by the state, once the evacuations have been made by the police and gendarmes, to pick up the tents and throw them away“, declared the Minister of the Interior.” We noticed (lacerations) in particular because the journalists showed it to us, “admitted the minister.”We asked to stop this. But these are not not the police and the gendarmes who take cutters and tear up tents “.

An explanation far from unanimous among associations and observers on the spot, in particular Human Rights Observers.

Once again, you are lying.

1 u20e3,1 u20e3At the border, these lacerations have not stopped.
2 u20e3,2 u20e3 The tents are sometimes torn even though people are still inside.

“The gendarmes and police save lives”, here is a thread for you @GDarmanin u2935 ufe0f https://t.co/tLKokA5GjL pic.twitter.com/AIXuoFllWi

– Human Rights Observers (@HumanRightsObs) November 29, 2021

In this Twitter thread we can effectively see that the gendarmes and police officers are not directly involved in the laceration of the tents, but that with each action (destruction of tents, installation of stone blocks …) they are present for frame.

Our colleagues from Check News (subscribed article), contacted the various actors around this controversy. The company responsible for cleaning, Ramery Propreté or a bailiff present during the dismantling of the camp in the wood of Puythouk (Grande-Synthe), do not indicate that instructions were given to carry out this destruction. But they all refer to the prefecture, which does not communicate on the issue.

However, a former acting agent of Ramery Propreté indicates to our colleagues, on condition of anonymity that he has of course “a commander ask. This is to prevent migrants from going to use in the dumpsters. A bailiff is on place and he checks it all “. Check News also contacted a lawyer from the Paris bar, Lionel Crusoé, who concluded that this kind of practice is not based on “no legal basis“.

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