Yesterday afternoon, traffic began to build up on the motorway next to the camp. Traffic near the camp often provides residents the opportunity to try and hide themselves in passing vehicles, in a desperate attempt to get to the UK. It is one of the most dangerous methods, but after months and months of living in The Jungle, many people feel they have no other choice.
To access the road, refugees have to get through the tall fences that separates the camp from the motorway. This fence, paid for British Government in a further refusal to take responsibility for what is happening just across the channel, is across the vast wasteland known as “no mans land”. This area was cleared in the South Eviction in March, and has forced people into a smaller area, increasing the feeling of living in a prison, as residents are stripped further of their human rights.
A few residents of the camp saw an opportunity for escape, and cut a small hole in the fence in an attempt to stow themselves inside a passing lorry. The police arrived quickly, and immediately went to their go-to: tear gas.
More people arrived to see what was happening on the edge of the camp, and were soon met with more police at several points on the far side of “no mans land”, who fired more tear gas, rubber bullets and at least two flash bang grenades. This went on for hours.
The problem with tear gas is that is spreads indiscriminately. It carries with the wind, and in a place as densely built as the shanty town that is The Jungle, everyone is affected. Tear gas is very painful; it effects your eyes, nose, and throat, and can even cause permanent nerve damage. It can alight, and as the camp is constructed from highly flammable materials like plastic, wood and polyester tents, this can be very dangerous. Its use in warfare has been prohibited by various treaties, but deemed acceptable for ‘riot control’. In a camp of 6,000 displaced people, many of them families and unaccompanied children, the use of tear gas against the actions few members is inexcusable.
Yesterday, The Jungle was swallowed by a cloud of tear gas for nearly the entire day, in a retaliation to a desperate attempt at a safe life. Happy World Refugee Day.[/fusion_text][/five_sixth]