- Footage shows car drivers forced to swerve around hundreds of migrants
- Police closed the A16 highway until crowds of people could be dispersed
- Calais port is a key destination for asylum-seekers from all over the world
- Most hope to reach the UK via the Eurotunnel or by hitching lifts in lorries
- See more news on the migrant crisis at www.dailymail.co.uk/migrantcrisis
Car drivers were forced to squeeze through the crowds of people – many of whom were pushing prams – as they strolled down the middle of the road.
Local authorities admitted that ‘since the traffic was low’, it was decided to close the A16 highway in both directions until the crowds could be dispersed.
‘Around 4pm, hundreds of migrants, in small groups, attempted to break into the site,’ said the Pas-de-Calais prefecture.
The port of Calais has become a key destination for the thousands of migrants and refugees who are trying to enter the UK.
It has led to the evolution of the Calais migrant camp, known as The Jungle, which has become so well established that it is even now home to restaurants, barbershops, churches and mosques.
Its inhabitants have arrived from all over the world, including Syria, Eritrea and Afghanistan, most claiming to have fled violence and war in their home countries.
More than 6,000 people are now believed to have made temporary homes in the make-shift camp, including orphaned children, the elderly and disabled.
But the camp also witnesses regular clashes between hopeful asylum-seekers and border security and police officers.
Many Britons arrived at The Jungle camp yesterday to lend a helping hand, giving up time with their families to spend time distributing donations around the camp or helping prepare a meal.
‘It’s really sad in the camp today,’ campaigner Gulwali Passarlay told the MailOnline, after spending the morning in the camp in ‘solidarity’ with the migrants and refugees.
‘Most people are really depressed. They are sitting in their own tents, in their own worlds. It’s shocking to think that human beings are living in these inhumane conditions in a European country.’
London-based Mr Passarlay travelled to the camp to take some donations of clothes, food and sweets to the people living there.
The activist and author, who campaigns for refugees’ rights, was born in Afghanistan but arrived as a refugee in the UK in 2007, at the age of just 13.
The British Medical Journal has dedicated its Christmas appeal this year to the charity Doctors of the World, which brings care to people in need around the world, including in Calais.
‘Many [of the refugees] are traumatised,’ said Bryony Corbyn, specialist registrar in child and adolescent psychiatry. ‘Most are malnourished. Many have physical and mental health problems and lack sufficient access to medical care and support.’
She added: ‘Nothing could have prepared us for the suffering and despair we witnessed as we walked into the camp.
‘Our path quickly became a sea of foul, ankle deep mud. Hundreds of tents were being buffeted by the strong wind and many were lying flattened in the mud.
‘We looked around: grim faced men, crying toddlers, everything wet and sodden.’
According to recent figures from the Organisation for Migration, more than a million people arrived in Europe this year – more than four times the figure for 2014.
Many arrived by sea, with some 3,692 people drowning while attempting the perilous journey.