'Kick them out' cry Calais anti-migrant protesters
Far-right groups rallied Sunday against migrants in the northern French port of Calais days after refugees tried to storm their way onto a ferry to England.
Some protesters carried placards saying "Kick them out!" and others blamed migrants for the "crime, filth and economic disaster" they claim was affecting the town from which hundreds of refugees hope to make it across the English Channel.
Calais' mayor Natacha Bouchart threatened to close the port Tuesday in protest at London not doing enough to deter migrants, who she claimed considered Britain "an Eldorado".
UK Immigration Minister James Brokenshire Sunday offered Calais the security fences used at this week's NATO summit in Wales.
More than 100 migrants stormed the gates of the port Wednesday in a failed bid to board a ferry, after a number of confrontations around the heavily-guarded docks in August. Police said there are an estimated 1,300 migrants now in the town.
Before a crowd of a few hundred laughing and booing supporters, Olivier Roulier from the extreme right Identity Network said, "From Vladivostok to Calais and Lampedusa, the people are rising up to say no to the invasion of our continent."
To shouts of "This is our place", one of the organisers of the rally, Kevin Reche, called for the shacks in which migrants sleep awaiting passage to Britain to be cleared.
Another Thomas Joly, from the France Party, a breakaway from the far-right National Front, said the "future of the white world is in danger".
While a small group of anti-fascist protestors were dispersed by the police, migrants and their supporters organised a "World Cup" football tournament at a local studium as a symbolic riposte to the protest.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned Sunday that the National Front is at the "gates of power" in France, in a stark assessment of the rise of the extreme right as his centre-left government plummets in the polls.
The Front have made big gains in the Pas de Calais region in recent elections, with leader Marine Le Pen building her personal power base there.
A poll Friday found she would beat French President Francois Hollande if the 2017 presidential vote were held now.
Meanwhile, a record number of French Jews have emigrated to Israel so far this year, the Jewish Agency for Israel said, blaming a "climate of anti-Semitism".
© 2014 AFP