Disgust at French authorities as Norwich aid convoy for Calais migrants is blocked
- Credit: PA
Activists have spoken of their outrage after their convoy was blocked from crossing the Channel to deliver aid packages to migrants at the Calais 'jungle' camp.
The group left Norwich on Saturday morning and joined up with other campaigners from across the country in London.
But when 250 vehicle convoy reached the ferry terminal at Dover they found their route blocked by British police, following a decision by the authorities in France to refuse them entry. Officials there say the security demands of policing the European Championships and the ongoing Islamist terror threat facing the country have placed a great strain on their resources.
They also said that the mission had the potential to 'generate violent episodes' and that the high number of vehicles could 'facilitate the intrusion of migrants'.
But Julie Bremner, a Norwich member of the group Stand up to Racism, disagreed. 'We are outraged about it,' she added. 'On what basis did they have to stop us travelling? We'd already booked our tickets there and back for £30 per car.'
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However, three vehicles which left the main convoy did make it across to France and went onto the camp with food, clothes and hygiene supplies.
Jamal Sealey from Norwich's Ishan Mosque was among them. He said stopping the rest of the convoy was a 'ridiculous' decision.
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He said: 'I think it's disgusting what the French are doing. We are just trying to deliver aid to people in need.'
When they found their route blocked at Dover, the activists in the main convoy held an impromptu rally, chanting and holding signs saying 'refugees welcome' and 'solidarity with refugees'. After they were turned back, many of the group then headed to London to protest outside the French embassy.
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