Charities and human rights groups said officials had failed to provide basic services
Migrants from Sudan sit near statues of Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle in a public park in Calais. Photograph: Sameer Al-Doumy/AFP/Getty Images
About 250 human rights activists have protested in the northern French port of Calais against a local ban on distributing food to migrants in the city centre.
Members of about 70 charities and rights groups also on Saturday denounced what they say is the failure of local officials to provide even basic services to the migrants living in and around the city.
On Friday, France’s top administrative court refused to suspend the order issued by the region banning the distribution of food to migrants in the centre of Calais, a decision that provoked outrage among rights campaigners.
Local officials had argued successfully that the city centre ban, within strictly defined limits, was needed to maintain public order – and to ensure that social distancing measures against the spread of the coronavirus were properly enforced.
Activists working with migrants were free to help them outside that zone, they said.
There are between 1,000 and 1,200 migrants based around the port of Calais, from countries including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and Eritrea. Most of them are trying to find a way across the Channel to the UK.
The UK is dealing with record levels of arrivals across the Channel in small boats this year.