Migrant aid convoy stopped from entering France

A convoy of aid intended for migrants in Calais has been stopped at the Port of Dover by the French authorities.

The BBC is reporting that 250 vehicles including lorries, cars and motorcycles, which earlier set off from Westminster, had hoped to board a ferry at 14:00 BST.

But Kent Police said it had been notified by the French authorities the convoy had been refused entry to France.

The convoy, organised by a number of campaign groups including the People’s Assembly and Stop the War Coalition, made the decision to set off from outside the Houses of Parliament at 09:00 BST, despite a public order injunction being taken out by the authorities in Calais.

A spokesman for the People’s Assembly said organisers had been told the ban was to do with heightened security in France.

He said they had been organising the convoy for six months and accused Kent Police of colluding with their French counterparts to prevent them from crossing.

One of the organisers, John Rees of the Stop the War Coalition, told the Guardian: “Everybody knows that in Calais they are running very low on supplies, I think at one point in recent days they were just giving out Bic razors, that’s all they have left. We’ve got the biggest single convoy of aid that’s ever been assembled in Britain, people have come from Shetland, Glasgow, from practically every major town, it’s just unbelievable that they stopped it going over. We’re hoping the embassy will facilitate the aid to go through. If they’re genuine about not wanting to stop the aid, they’re a very rich state, they could offer to transport it themselves.”

In a statement, the prefect of Pas-de-Calais cited a number of reasons for issuing the ban, including the potential for it to “generate violent episodes” and the lack of police officers available because of the ongoing European Championships.

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