Marine Le Pen has been refused entry to an state-recognised refugee camp in northern France.
The Front National leader arrived at the Grande-Synthe camp in Dunkirk on Tuesday afternoon, along with several media outlets, but was refused authorisation to enter by organisations running the camp and regional authorities because she had turned up unannounced.
In response, Ms Le Pen claimed it was a political move and that she was refused only because she “doesn't agree with” the organisers of the camp. She told BFMTV at the scene: “It’s a political move. They only let people in who agree with them,” and later tweeted: “Today we were prevented from entering the Grande-Synthe camp. That's French democracy for you!”
But Grande-Synthe authorities have said the reason she wasn't granted entry was because she failed to inform the organisations running the camp or the regional authorities that she was coming prior to her arrival.
Matilde Regne, a spokesperson for the mayor of Grand-Synthe, told The Independent: “She didn’t bother to let the organisations that run the camp know that she was coming. Neither the mayor, nor the organisation that manages the camp. No one was informed of her visit. She turned up completely unannounced,” said Ms Regne.
“She told the press that she likes that she was coming. We’ve had many high-profile figures visit the camp before, and all of them informed us beforehand, even journalists. It’s important so that security can be organised.
“Because she came without pre-warning, she wasn’t given authorisation. You can’t enter a humanitarian camp for refugees just like that.”
In a tweet posted while she was standing outside the camp, Ms Le Pen denounced the “crazy immigration policies” by the French government. “In front of the Grande-Synthe migrant camp, I denounced the crazy immigration policies carried out by successive governments,” she wrote.
“We must deport illegals back where they came from and control our national borders, if not the camps with reconstruct themselves."
She added in another tweet: “Migrants are coming back to Calais and will ontinue to come as long as we don’t control our borders.”
According to France3, Damien Caerme, mayor of Grande-Synthe, said: “It is not a zoo. It is out of the question for [Ms Le Pen] to make a buzz by coming to Grande-Synthe. What is she trying to achieve? She constantly incites hate and divisions.“
Mr Careme later tweeted: “I refused Marine Le Pen access to the humanitarian camp who dared to present herself. Humanity is a value that she ignores."
There are around 800 refugees residing in the Grande-Synthe camp, a number that has been growing since the demolition of the Calais 'Jungle', as refugees — particularly unaccompanied minors — flee from the accommodation centres across France they were taken to following the eviction.
Ms Le Pen meanwhile boasts an openly anti-refugee policy, and controlling France's borders is one of the principle objectives in her election campaign.
Earlier this month, the Front National leader, whose father was convicted over racial hatred, xenophobia and anti-Semitism, denounced the EU as “a force of sterilisation” and attacked German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her refugee policy.
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