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Workers wield sledgehammers to tear down Calais 'Jungle'

Agencies | Updated: 2016-10-26 10:38

Workers wield sledgehammers to tear down Calais 'Jungle'

A migrant is seen in silhouette near flames from a burning makeshift shelter on the second day of the evacuation of migrants and their transfer to reception centers in France, as part of the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 25, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

CALAIS, France - French workers began demolishing the "Jungle" shanty town in Calais on Tuesday, wielding sledgehammers to tear down makeshift dwellings as their former residents - migrants seeking entry to Britain - were moved out.

Police equipped with water cannon stood guard over the demolition, while hundreds of migrants - some of whom have lived in the scrubland on the northern French coast for months or years - waited for buses to take them for resettlement across France.

"The migrants have known for a long time this was going to happen," the Calais region's prefect, Fabienne Buccio, told Reuters after arriving at the camp escorted by between 150 and 200 riot police.

"We are making sure it is done properly. We define an area, and then we go in."

Groups of young men who have fled war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, kept warm around piles of burning rubbish in the camp, a filthy expanse that has become a symbol of Europe's failed migration policies.

After being processed, 1,636 left on Tuesday, bringing the total to 4,014 since the start of the week, according to Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

As dusk gathered some migrants burned abandoned tents, but there was no repeat of the minor skirmishes with security forces seen over the weekend and officials said the operation was going peacefully.

For many of the migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and other conflict zones, the closure of the Jungle marks the end of a dream to reach Britain, which lies a tantalisingly short sea crossing away.

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