French police started clearing the 'jungle' migrant camp in Calais

The clashes came before the scheduled demolition of the camp that will begin on Monday.

But the scene that would pass for normal on another day at the slum-like camp in the northern port town of Calais nicknamed the "jungle" was anything but routine.

Most of those living in the camp are from sub-Saharan Africa - Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia - and Afghanistan; they have spent months or even years there in the hope of reaching the United Kingdom, some 30 miles away across the English Channel.

Hollande, who is eyeing a re-election bid, is facing harsh criticism from conservative and far-right rivals, who say the camp symbolizes his failure to deal with Europe's migrant crisis.

A man leaves the church at a makeshift migrant camp near Calais, France, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016. Authorities responded with tear gas.

Riot police stood guard as the migrants gathered around the blazes.

Bishop of Croydon, Jonathan Clark, who is a spokesman for campaign group Safe Passage UK, welcomed the latest arrivals, saying, they were "not just children seeking to reunite with their families, but also the most vulnerable who are at last being transferred to Britain under the provisions of the Dubs amendment, including many young girls, who have arrived today".

More than 1,200 police officers will be deployed to prevent any unrest as the migrants are directed to buses that will take them to temporary shelters nationwide where they can seek asylum.

Officials expect 60 buses to leave the camp on Monday.

On October 24, the camp's inhabitants will be led to a 3,000 square-metre hangar nearby, where they will be registered and assigned to one of 280 reception centres set up across the country.

Some people staying at the camp said they fear ending up in unwelcoming villages with few economic opportunities instead of cities, a real possibility.

"The main point is we are bringing to safety a lot of young people who are vulnerable, who are in awful danger, and we are going to give them the chance of a better life".

"We have conducted 600 interviews in all, and this week 194 minors will have left Calais for Britain", said Pierre Henry, the head of France Terre d'Asile (FTDA), a charity involved in helping process the children on behalf of the French government.

Previous year more than 100 children went missing when parts of the camp were bulldozed.

The UK government has called for as many unaccompanied children with links to the UK as possible to be transferred from the camp before it is closed. "I think that's a good thing".

Most of the 33 migrant deaths in the Calais region since January 2015 have been caused by road accidents, with many losing their lives as they attempted to climb onto lorries heading towards Britain under cover of night.

Calais lies on the French side of the English Channel, and migrants who have tried to board ferries and trucks making the crossing have repeatedly been turned back.



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