2,100 migrants try to storm Eurotunnel site in French port

AP News
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Posted: Jul 28, 2015 3:06 PM

PARIS (AP) — About 2,100 migrants tried to storm the area surrounding the Eurotunnel early Tuesday before being repelled by police, an official in the northern French port of Calais said.

The official, who spoke on condition she not be named because she wasn't authorized to speak publicly, said police arrested 200 of the migrants. She said it was the largest such attempt by migrants to enter the site.

Calais is a key port for sea and land crossings to Britain. In recent months, thousands of migrants from Eritrea, Sudan and beyond have camped out around the city, and some try to sneak across the English Channel by getting onboard trucks and freight trains.

The encampments have soured relations between Britain and France, which blame each other for failing to cope with the crisis.

On Tuesday, British Home Secretary Theresa May announced that her government has agreed to provide an extra 7 million pounds ($10.8 million) to boost security at the Channel Tunnel railhead in Coquelles.

May disclosed the extra funding following a meeting between British and French officials.

"We've had a very constructive meeting," she said. "The French and U.K. governments are working in close collaboration and cooperation on this issue which affects us both."

Last week, the company that operates the Eurotunnel asked France and Britain to kick in 9.7 million euros ($10.6 million) to cope with an influx of migrants in Calais. Britain has also said it's creating a "secure zone" in Calais for British-bound trucks to tackle the problem of migrants stowing away in the vehicles.

Spokespeople for Eurotunnel and the police weren't immediately available for comment.