Newly released video shows Calais police ‘kicking, pushing and using pepper-spray’ on migrants as they attempt to enter UK

France's top human rights ombudsman Jacques Toubon said that he would “investigate" the footage

Jack Simpson
Wednesday 13 May 2015 11:42 BST
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Police appearing to attack migrants in Calais
Police appearing to attack migrants in Calais

French police are being investigated after a video was released purporting to show officers in Calais using violence against migrants as they attempted to board lorries headed for the UK.

The country’s human rights ombudsman Jacques Toubon said that he would “investigate" the footage that emerged allegedly showing Calais police kicking, pushing and allegedly using pepper spray on migrants thought to be from Africa and the Middle East.

In the two-minute clip released by migrant support group Calais Migrant Solidarity, the officers appear to apprehend the migrants as a large group of them attempt to break into the lorries as they wait for entry into the port in Calais.

One officer man is seen pushing a migrant over the road’s guard rail, while another is filmed appearing to threaten the group of migrants with a baton.

In other videos taken by Calais Migrant Solidarity on the same day, police are apparently filmed harassing and acting violently towards other migrants.

The majority of migrants are thought to be from Africa and the Middle East and are in Calais waiting to enter the UK.

According to French authorities, the numbers of migrants in Calais have soared over the last 12 months as a result of conflicts in countries like Sudan, Eritrea and Syria.

There are believed to be 2,400 migrants currently staying in Calais.

This growth in migrant numbers has led to an increase in reports of violence and abuse by the police.

A report by Human Rights Watch in January, reported that 44 migrants had witnessed violence by the police.

Another video showed police appearing to chase a migrant before pushing him to the floor
Another video showed police appearing to chase a migrant before pushing him to the floor (Calais Migrant Solidarity)

The report was later dismissed as “bias” by France’s interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

Following the release of the latest footage, prosecutor Jean-Pierre Valensi of Boulogne-sur-Mer near Calais called on the police’s inspection body to review the footage.

He said if any of the offending officers were found guilty, they could be “liable to be classed as criminals.”

France’s national police headquarters said an inquiry into the allegations of police violence was under way.

“Hundreds and hundreds of migrants stormed the lorries.

“When three police officers open a lorry and find five migrants inside who don’t want to leave, how do you want to get them out?”

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