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Europe

Court considers Calais 'Jungle' clearance appeal

media Volunteers for the Care 4 Calais NGO in the Jungle on Monday Reuters/Pascal Rossignol

French officials were forced to put off their ultimatum to clear part of the Jungle migrants camp in the French port of Calais by 8.00pm on Tuesday as a judge visited the site and announced that she would not issue her ruling until Wednesday at the earliest. The authorities claim the area is unfit for habitation, many migrants and NGOs say they have not been offered viable alternatives.

Judge Valérie Quemener visited the camp on Tuesday morning, a rare move for a presiding magistrate, and was greeted by migrants demonstrating their opposition to the plan to evict them.

The hearing itself did not start until 2.45pm and Qeumener said she intended to a written response to the appeal against the clearance by 250 migrants and 10 NGOs, meaning that it would not be ready until Wednesday or Thursday.

Government officials said they hoped to persuade migrants to move to converted containers in Calais or centres elsewhere in France but were ready to use force if necessary.

Lawyers opposing them argue that the migrants are being denied their rights and that the accomodation offered is not suitable.

The government wants to reduce the number of people living in the Jungle, estimated to be about 3,700 at the moment, to 2,000.

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