French police clash with protesters backing Calais migrants

CALAIS, France - French police have fired tear gas and water cannons on protesters defending migrants in the northern city of Calais as the government prepares to shut down the city's notorious migrant camp.

The demonstrators — including activists from migrant support groups, a far-left presidential candidate and migrants themselves — defied a ban by authorities on Saturday's protest. The protesters say they are expressing solidarity with the migrants, who face imminent expulsion from the camp.

Hundreds of people came in by bus from other cities, and were met by police, who used tear gas to disperse them and keep them from marching into the city centre.

President Francois Hollande has pledged to close the Calais camp by the end of the year and transfer thousands of migrants around France while their asylum cases are examined.


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