French police bulldozed a migrant settlement in Dunkirk on Tuesday morning and arrested around 50 residents. Our Observer there explains that the very same day, the immigrants started rebuilding their "jungle".
Aïssa Zaibet is a school supervisor at a school in Dunkirk. He's also a member of the People's Anti-Racist and Pro-Friendship Movement (MRAP). He's been helping migrants from the Loon-Plage camp for seven years.
The operation began at 7.30am. When I got there, the police were taking down the shacks and handcuffing the Afghanis and Iraqis who live in them. Bulldozers then tore down their makeshift homes. This kind of operation is absolutely pointless - the very same night, the migrants had rebuilt the camp in the same place.
Five months ago, the police did exactly the same thing. It's always the same. Those who manage to run away in time come back as soon as the police have gone and start rebuilding with materials that we've given them. The ones who are arrested are released after a week with an order to leave the country. France doesn't deport people on charter flights, because there's so much opposition [three Afghanis were deported in October however]. And so it goes on...
The migrants are trying to get to the UK. They come to Loon-Plage because it's 300 metres from the ferry terminal. There, they try to sneak into trailers or onto bars beneath vehicles to get across the Channel illegally. It works. It can take up to four months to get there, but they almost always make it.
Everyone talks about the ‘destruction' of the jungle. But it's only for show. It doesn't do anything."
Photos taken by Aïssa Zaibet for the MRAP movement.