France refused to suspend order issued by the region’s prefect banning feeding migrants in the centre of Calais

There are up to 1,200 migrants based around Calais, from countries including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and Eritrea

Around 250 rights activists protested on Saturday in the northern French port of Calais against a local ban on feeding migrants in the city centre.

Members of around 70 charities and rights groups also 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’s prefect banning feeding 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 up to 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 United Kingdom.

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