Travel chaos warning over Calais protest against Jungle camp
French shopkeepers, police, unionists and farmers will today join hauliers in calling for the northern section of the migrant camp at Calais to be demolished.
British cross-Channel travellers face disruption as lorry drivers said they were "in it for the long haul" in their protest about the migrant crisis around the French port town, a trade association warned.
It added that the drivers will stand their ground until they see action to dismantle the Jungle camp.
Pressure has been growing on the French authorities to tackle the problem, which has seen the camp swell in size in recent months, and talks took place between protest organisers and French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Friday.
Lorries and tractors are set to gather at Dunkirk, to the north of Calais and Bolougne to the south, at 7.30am (local time), according to the Road Haulage Association chief executive Richard Burnett.
Mr Burnett said the RHA had spoken to a representative of the French road transport union, the FNTR, to confirm this, and they were disappointed that "despite assurances that the action by Calais hauliers would take the form of a go-slow, this now appears not to be the case".
"Both groups will then travel along the A16 towards Calais, converging at the Eurotunnel exit," he said.
The RHA said 200 French farmers are joining in the protest, angry at migrant action that has resulted in destroyed crops and extensive damage to farms in the area.
Mr Burnett added: "It seems certain that traffic crossing from the UK will find it almost impossible to leave the port as access to the A16 is denied.
"The inevitable repercussions of this will surely mean that the authorities on this side of the Channel will have no alternative but to deploy Operation Stack. This will bring yet further misery to hauliers bound for mainland Europe and of course for the people and businesses of Kent."
Despite efforts to reduce numbers by dismantling the slum's southern section earlier this year, up to 9,000 migrants from countries including Sudan, Syria and Eritrea are living there in squalor.
People traffickers are reported to be going to extreme lengths in Calais in their efforts to reach the UK, with vehicles being torched, petrol bombs thrown and trees being cut down to block roads before drivers are threatened with chainsaws and machetes.
Gangs are paid thousands of pounds by vulnerable people to get them to Calais, from where some are smuggled to Britain to work to pay off huge debts to people traffickers.
People traffickers have even been deliberately causing car crashes on the roads to the port by hurling large objects at cars and then stowing away on lorries caught up in the traffic jams that pile up behind.