On October 1st, after a demonstration in support of the migrants at Calais was banned by local authorities, French far left No Border activists travelled from across France to continue with the protest. 150 protesters who left Paris aboard four coaches were blocked by police at a toll road 50km short of the city of Calais, but protesters who made it to the Calais Jungle and migrants in the camp clashed with police. Police responded with tear gas, and five policemen and one photographer were injured.
The event was captured by Magnum’s Jérôme Sessini, who has been documenting the Calais Jungle since 2015. Back then the camp was home to around 6,000. Since March 2016 around one third of the Calais Jungle has been dismantled, but as the camp reduced in size, the population swelled by thousands. Sessini has witnessed the way the increasingly cramped conditions have created a tinderbox atmosphere. “The result is that there are more people in less space so it is obviously more crowded and tense now,” he says, also noting that there have also been clashes between the migrants themselves, particularly between the Afghan and Sudanese. “There is more desperation and migrants are trying harder and harder to stop trucks,” adds Sessini.
In September 2016 French President François Hollande vowed to shut the Calais migrant camp down within weeks by dispatching its residents to dozens of reception centers around France.