Eurotunnel says 2,000 migrants tried to enter premises overnight
About 2,000 migrants tried to enter Eurotunnel premises in the French port of Calais overnight in a desperate bid to reach England through the Channel tunnel, a spokesman said Tuesday.
"It was the biggest incursion effort in the past month and a half," said the spokesman for Eurotunnel, which is battling often deadly efforts by migrants to smuggle themselves into Britain.
The migrants were trying to enter the site "between midnight and 6:00 am," he added.
"All our security personnel, that is nearly 200 people, as well as police were called in."
The incident caused serious delays to the Eurotunnel service for much of Tuesday, with passengers held up for around an hour on the British side and 30 minutes on the French side.
A French police source said: "There are regular incursion attempts by small groups that are pushed back but it is not correct to say that there were 2,000 migrants at the same time."
Local authorities were unable to say whether any of the migrants were hurt in the attempt.
Since the beginning of June, eight migrants have died trying to enter the tunnel.
According to the last official count -- at the beginning of July -- around 3,000 migrants, mainly from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and Afghanistan, were camped out in Calais trying to get across the Channel.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was in London on Tuesday to hold talks with his counterpart Theresa May on how to tackle the migrant issue, which has been a thorn in the side of Franco-British relations for years.
The Eurotunnel company itself is seeking 9.7 million euros ($10.67 million) from the British and French governments in compensation for disruption caused by illegal migrants.
© 2015 AFP