French lorry drivers block roadway in protest to Calais migrant camp

French lorry drivers began a blockade of a major roadway leading to the port of Calais on Monday, demanding that shanty towns housing refugees in the area be removed.

"We want a date," one demonstrator calling for timeline of the removal told local broadcaster BFMTV.

The prefecture reported kilometre-long traffic jams on northern France's A16 motorway that connects Calais with Dunkirk.

Migrants have been assembled for years at Calais where they attempt to move illegally over the channel to England, often attempting to do so by climbing on top of commercial vehicles travelling through the underground Eurotunnel.

Demonstrators highlighted that the risks the refugees were taking were also endangering drivers as well.

Farmers and traders also participated in the protests, with around 350 demonstrators forming a human chain.

"We want public order reestablished here by a clearing of the northern part of the [refugee] camp," said Calais' Mayor Natacha Bouchart.

Although national authorities evacuated the southern part of the camp in earlier this year, the number of people in such shanty towns has risen sharply recently.

Authorities speak of 6,900 people, while aid organizations say the number has surpassed 9,000. Some 1,900 live in state-financed containers, while the rest reside in makeshift shelters.

On Friday, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced that the so-called Jungle of Calais would finally be cleared, but did not name a date.

Last update: Mon, 05/09/2016 - 17:19

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