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France

20 migrants injured in brawls near French port of Calais

media French police stand over a group of migrants and refugees eating a meal provided by a local NGO in Calais ©Michael Robinson Chavez/gettyImages

Fighting broke out between Afghan and African migrants near the French port of Calais. As many as 200 people using sticks and iron bars as weapons have been involved in mass brawls.

Authorities in Calais said in a statement that 20 people had been injured in total, most of them hurt during the night, and that five people had been arrested.

The fighting began over night after a row apparently caused by a drunk migrant during the distribution of free food by local charity, the Auberge des Migrants.

Local authorities and the French government are determined to stop camps sprouting up around the port area, but they were recently compelled to provide basic sanitation facilities for the migrants still living there.

The state's failure to provide for the migrants' basic needs "exposed them to inhuman and degrading treatment," a court recently found, while local charities regularly denounce the French government's response.

However, fighting and attempts to break into commercial trucks heading for Britain are regular problems for the police around Calais.

In early July, a brawl between African migrants from Eritrea and Ethiopia left 16 injured.

- with AFP

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