It was approaching 7pm and some among the crowd at the entrance to “the Jungle” in Calais were growing tired of the spectacle.
For three hours riot police had fired tear gas down onto them from a motorway bridge to keep them inside Europe’s most notorious migrant camp on the north coast of France. Stones whizzed back in response.
For once, the residents of what Doctors Without Borders calls this “shameful ... squalid, state-sanctioned shanty town” were grateful for the fierce wind whipping in from the English Channel.
Time to go to the theater.
A small group of Afghans peels off to walk arm-in-arm back through the second-hand clothes market at the crossroads between “Afghanistan” and the Sudanese section, past “Eritrea,” with its large plywood Orthodox church, to the big white domed tent rising from the mud of this former rubbish dump.
Their beacon in the darkness is the Good Chance Theatre, set up in September by two young British playwrights known as “Joe and Joe.”
There is some kind of performance every night, and Wednesday’s was a two-hour variety show. A cheeky version of Clandestino, Manu Chao’s song about illegal immigrants in the US — “Africano clandestino, Afghani clandestino, Pakistani clandestino” — was met with cheers and howls of laughter.
Every night the migrants wait for the traffic to slow as it backs up from the ferry terminal before trying to clamber into moving trucks.
A young Kurdish man nurses a wound on his hand where he claims a lorry driver slashed him with a knife as he clung onto his cab earlier in the day.
“He was afraid. I was afraid, he wanted to kill me,” he said.
Others walk the 15km to try their luck at the heavily guarded entrance to the Channel Tunnel.
After two hours of non-stop singing, the night’s show ends with a frenzied Pashtun drummer who gets most of the 200 or so people inside up dancing.
Baraa, a 31-year-old English teacher from the Syrian city of Hama, has spent the day photographing the camp and the clashes with police to make “postcards” of life at the site.
“I will try to get to England tonight,” he said. “You cannot hold back humanity with a fence.”
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete