Friday, August 5, 2016

Road Haulage Representative Attacked in Latest Wave of Calais Violence

Assaults on Freight Vehicles Persist as Calls for More French Police Intensify
Shipping News Feature
FRANCE – For a member of the Road Haulage Association (RHA) who was investigating the worrying migrant situation in Calais this week, the conflict with would be immigrants into Britain took on a very personal note when he was attacked in the Port of Calais and a boulder thrown at his vehicle, a situation unfortunately familiar to many truck drivers heading for Britain.

The RHA has kept abreast of the controversy now for several months and continues to be concerned for the health of HGV drivers, many of them not British, who run the gauntlet of violence, whilst what are clearly insufficient resources to deter the attackers are deployed by the French authorities. Speaking of this latest incident RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said:

"Thankfully, although very shaken, our man was unhurt. However, we are now entering the peak holiday season when families, as well as hauliers, rely on this key route between the UK and the rest of Europe. Had this been a car with a family on board, probably with children in the back seats, they would have been killed.

"l am dismayed that the escalation of these migrant attacks remains so far down the news agenda. Since last summer we have been pleading for more security to be put in place at Calais. We have even asked for deployment of the French military, particularly on the approach roads. Yet UK-bound drivers now run the risk of attacks every time they approach the Port, day and night.

"We strongly urge HGV drivers and members of the public who experience such acts of aggression too get in touch with us through the Calais reporting line on (+44) 1274 863111. Only by getting first-hand information can we make a difference and get this issue back at the top of the political and media agenda."

Despite the partial clearing of the migrant camp earlier this year, numbers of migrants in the area have escalated dramatically. As revealed in our recent story on the latest troubles there are now over 7,000 displaced people in the area, their sole aim being to reach the UK at any cost.

Speaking to the Handy Shipping Guide one trucker who wished for anonymity said he blamed the French authorities for both a lack of resources to deter the constant attacks on lorries and attempts to infiltrate trucks, coupled with a reluctance to act when numbers of migrants exceeded police.

The migrants are accused of causing the violence but are supported by such groups as Calais Migrant Solidarity which runs a website devoted to the elimination of international borders and which in turn routinely accuse police of violence against them. The site, which uses multiple languages to advise would be stowaways on how to best survive in what is a hostile situation, reports four deaths since May 2016 with varying causes from stabbing to hit and run, and states it is the existence of borders themselves which have brought about this tragic situation.

Photo: Would be migrants to the UK regularly block the highway to slow lorries giving them or their associates a chance to board.