“I desire to reach England”: The BBC reports on individuals Battling on a Migrant boat before to five Deaths

There was a shout in the dark to begin with.

Near the tourist town of Wimereux, a French policeman had noticed a crowd of people moving from the sand dunes overlooking the English Chanel. A few moments later, anarchy seemed to break out throughout the whole beach.

Now, two groups of migrants were visible in the moonlight, and more than a dozen officers were racing across the beach towards the shoreline in an attempt to intercept them.

Several women were seen straining to keep up with the group of young guys dragging an inflatable boat towards the sea, and when they understood they would be stopped by the police, they broke down in tears.

The scenario abruptly turned violent when the migrating groups converged by the water’s edge. A few males hurled pyrotechnics in the direction of the cops. There were battles, deafening blasts, and wisps of white smoke billowing over the shore.

In an attempt to shield the inflatable boat from the cops, the crowd gathered around it. With big clubs or rods in their hands, at least two men circled the group, seemingly threatening the cops with them.

It had only been two minutes, but people were scrambling aboard the boat as it approached shallow water.

At the scene, a policeman asked, “What else could we do?”

“It is forbidden for us to pursue them into the ocean. You saw that they were carrying sticks. There were kids present as well. Thus, caution was necessary.”

After failing to find room on the boat, a number of passengers waded ashore while the police made one arrest of a suspected smuggler.

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Early signs pointed to problems on board. Shouting and jostling were audible to us.

Someone stood in the middle of the boat with a toddler in a pink anorak tucked on their shoulders. It was obvious that far too many people were trying to squeeze into the boat.

A few were hanging on the sides. The greatest number of migrants that can normally fit in one of these boats is about sixty, but since two groups have merged on the beach, there were more over one hundred.

An Iraqi man, who had given up on trying to climb aboard, was standing dejectedly on the strand with two ladies. “I want to get to England, to my family,” he said.

The boat slowly drifted out to sea, seeming to get aground on a sandbank for a short while. As dawn approached, the clouds to the east turned a vivid pink, the police and those who had not been able to secure a spot started to make their way back towards the dunes and a nearby carpark.

Nobody on shore could really tell how bad things were on the boat at this point. There were a few life jackets visible in the water, and we could hear the odd cry. However, there was no means to determine whether someone was dying or dead.

A huge rescue ship that happened to be patrolling nearby deployed several French rescue boats after maybe thirty minutes. With their overcrowded boat, the rescuers probably thought they could convince the smugglers to give up and head back to the beach. Later, we were able to witness what appeared to be a transfer of individuals from the inflatable to the rescue vessel.

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Just an hour or so later, we learned from the French police that five people had been dying while we’d been watching the boat in the shallows. Three seem to have been run over to death, and two drowned. A girl of four years old was among the deceased.

Other migrants who had failed to cross over night and were now making their way back to their temporary camps in Calais and elsewhere heard about the tragedy soon. Even if many more are probably going to continue, others stated that the deaths made them hesitant to try a crossing.

Some dismissed the idea that the British intention to send individuals who crossed in small boats to Rwanda would discourage them.

A Sudanese student in Calais waiting to charge his phone declared, “Nothing can stop me.”

I’ve made fifteen attempts to travel to England. Now, I’m not giving up. “This is my final opportunity,” stated Idris, an Afghani man of 24 years old.

The French police, who have been warning for weeks that they are facing increasing attacks from both the smuggling groups and the migrants, who frequently carry rocks to throw at them, were not surprised by the violence we saw on the beach.

“We had seven vehicles wrecked and ten police officers hurt just last week. There has been a noticeable increase in violence, and big crowds frequently confront the police. Both additional personnel and more equipment are still required. Commissioner Mathilde Potel, in charge of police operations along the northern French coast, stated, “Courage is not enough.”

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According to Potel, there are now significantly more migrants waiting along the coast, a development that can be partially attributed to a sudden surge in Vietnamese immigration.

In a wooded area close to Calais, we came across a group of ten Vietnamese people who appeared to be lost but were in need of escape due to debts they owed local gangsters.

One individual claimed that they were being led by Kurdish smugglers who assured them of a job in the UK after helping them cross the Channel.

The number of migrants trying to pass via the tunnel or on ferries has increased by about 120% recently, according to the French police, even if the majority of them are still making the journey in small boats.

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