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Europe

French authorities start clearing part of Calais Jungle migrants' camp

media Workmen tear down shacks at the Jungle on Monday Reuters/Pascal Rossignol

French officials started the destruction of part of the Jungle refugee camp on Monday. Some 20 workers, under heavy police protection, dismantled some of the shacks by hand as two bulldozers stood by. An activist from the UK-based group No borders was arrested.

"We are carrying out our orders so that the migrants leave the camp and we will continue this work this morning ... so that the destruction work can continue calmly and that the migrants are not under pressure from the No Borders activists," said Fabienne Buccio, the government's local representative.

She accused No Borders members of threatening workers on Friday, the day after a court gave the green light for the southern half of the shanty town to be razed.

Buccio said three-quarters of the shacks in the area were empty after migrants were encouraged to leave in recent days but her office has accused No Borders of manipulating migrants who have refused to leave.

The authorities say that 800-1,000 migrants lived in the area but NGOs put the figure at 3,450, 300 of them unaccompanied children.

Charity workers were reported to be surprised by the start of the operation.

They said that only 100 places remained free in the converted containers offered as alternative accommodation in Calais.

Migrants have also been encouraged to go to reception centres elsewhere in France.

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