The Mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchart has extended a ban on handing food to migrants in the town as crowds mass after the Jungle camp demolition.
Despite the Jungle being demolished in October and 7,000 migrants moved on to reception centres across France, increasing numbers appear to be returning to the area, with lorry drivers saying they are again being targeted on their journeys to Britain.
In an attempt to stop another Jungle camp emerging, Mrs Bouchart, a hardline right-winger, issued the emergency order on Thursday. It states the “regular, persistent and large presence of individuals distributing meals to migrants” in the area around the former tent camp, the ‘Dune zone’ posed a “threat to the peace and security of the area”.
“What’s more, on Saturday, pro-migrant militants held a raucous rally at the place d’Armes, threatening public order.”
The intransigent mayor – who has been engaged in a months-long tug-of-war with charities over her treatment of refugees – said the decree had been tweaked to maintain “peace and stability” in Calais.
She added: “Migrants are the state’s responsibility, not mine.”
Since the Jungle was evacuated, local officials have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep migrants out of the port town and to stop secret tent camps from sprouting up in Calais.
Weeks before the mayoral decree banning food distribution was enforced, Mrs Bouchart blocked off the entrance to the French Christian charity Secours Catholique with a huge skip to stop migrants from having access to food, shelter and showers, sparking a wave of outrage among human rights groups.
Last Wednesday, however, French interior minister Bruno Le Roux confirmed the government would not be opening a new emergency shelter in Calais because doing so would only “encourage” migrants to return to the city, but said that officials would “not prevent the distribution of meals”.