Last week, the United Kingdom announced plans to begin building a barricade at the French port of Calais, dubbed by some media the “Great Wall of Calais.” The U.K. will foot the bill, and the barrier will complement a fence that already protects the port and is guarded by heavily armed French police.
The move followed massive protests held by French truck drivers and farmers, who threatened to block the port until Calais’ large migrant camp, known as the “Jungle,” is dismantled. Protesters argue that the camp, which, according to some estimates, is home to 9,000 migrants, has led to a spike in violence. Migrants, desperate to enter the U.K., have turned to staging barricades on major thoroughfares, in the hopes of stowing away on the Britain-bound trucks forced to slow down.
Both France and the U.K. have taken measures to improve security around the camp, but have struggled to keep up with its rising population. In 2014, Britain pledged $16 million to address the Calais crisis—funding that will help build the wall—and an extra $3 million to bolster security measures, including enhanced surveillance technology, to prevent border crossings.