HUFFINGTON POST

Calais Migrants Storm Channel Tunnel In Desperate Bid To Reach Britain

CALAIS, FRANCE - JULY 01:  Migrants are seen in a make shift camp known as the 'New Jungle' on July 1, 2015 in Calais, France
CALAIS, FRANCE - JULY 01: Migrants are seen in a make shift camp known as the 'New Jungle' on July 1, 2015 in Calais, France. Cross-channel travel has be disrupted for third day this week as MyFerryLink employees continue their industrial action. Migrants took advantage of the travel disruption by trying to board lorries bound for the UK. (Photo by Rafael Yaghobzadeh/Getty Images)

Dozens of migrants trying to stow away on vehicles crossing the Channel by tunnel between France and England broke through perimeter fences at Calais overnight, temporarily halting traffic, a Eurotunnel spokesman said on Saturday.

The disruption was the latest in a series of incidents involving some 3,000 migrants, mostly from Africa and the Middle East, who are camped around the northern French port in the hope of reaching Britain.

"At around 7 p.m. (1400 EDT) on Friday there were migrants all around the perimeter trying to break through the fences," the Eurotunnel spokesman told Reuters. "There was a lot of disruption."

Both freight and passenger services were temporarily halted during the night but are now running normally, although with some delays due to the backlog, he added.

Eurostar, which also runs passenger trains through the tunnel, though not at night, said its services had not been affected.

Over the past month, the growing numbers of migrants at Calais have also been trying to take advantage of a series of strikes by port workers that have caused long lines of trucks to build up on the approach roads to the port.

Calais is one of the front lines in a wider immigration crisis in which European countries are struggling to agree among themselves how to deal with growing numbers of migrants fleeing conflict or poverty.

Many want to get to Britain because they speak English, have family connections or are convinced they stand a better chance of getting a job there.

France and Britain agreed on Thursday to step up efforts to secure the port and the Channel Tunnel.

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BEFORE YOU GO

  • A Syrian mother warms up her daughter after arriving at Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
    AFP/Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    A Syrian mother warms up her daughter after arriving at Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
  • An Afghan migrant holds her two-month-old baby in Lesbos, after having walked for two days from a northern part of the island
    AFP/Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    An Afghan migrant holds her two-month-old baby in Lesbos, after having walked for two days from a northern part of the island, on June 19, 2015.
  • Syrian refugees arrive at Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
    AFP/Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    Syrian refugees arrive at Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
  • Migrants embrace after arriving at the island of Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
    AFP/Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    Migrants embrace after arriving at the island of Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
  • Migrants protect themselves from the rain while waiting to be registered in Lesbos on June 19, 2015.
    AFP/Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    Migrants protect themselves from the rain while waiting to be registered in Lesbos on June 19, 2015.
  • Syrian refugees flash the victory as their dinghy arrives at Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
    AFP/Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    Syrian refugees flash the victory as their dinghy arrives at Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
  • Migrants wait to be registered at Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
    AFP/Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    Migrants wait to be registered at Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
  • Afghan refugees arrive at Lesbos on June 2, 2015.
    AFP/Getty Images/Soeren Bidstrup
    Afghan refugees arrive at Lesbos on June 2, 2015.
  • An Afghan refugee carries a baby upon arrival at Lesbos on June 2, 2015.
    AFP/Getty Images/Soeren Bidstrup
    An Afghan refugee carries a baby upon arrival at Lesbos on June 2, 2015.
  • A Syrian migrant holds her family's documents after disembarking at Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
    AFP/Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    A Syrian migrant holds her family's documents after disembarking at Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
  • Syrian refugees attempt to send messages on their cell phones upon arrival at Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
    Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    Syrian refugees attempt to send messages on their cell phones upon arrival at Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
  • Syrian migrants wait by a makeshift cell phone charging station at an old indoor swimming pool in Lesbos, on June 16, 2015.
    AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis
    Syrian migrants wait by a makeshift cell phone charging station at an old indoor swimming pool in Lesbos, on June 16, 2015.
  • Syrian migrants arrive at Lesbos by dinghy on June 18, 2015.
    AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis
    Syrian migrants arrive at Lesbos by dinghy on June 18, 2015.
  • Migrants sleep on pieces of cardboard on the pavement in Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
    AFP/Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    Migrants sleep on pieces of cardboard on the pavement in Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
  • A migrant family waits to be registered at Lesbos on June 18, 2015.
    AFP/Getty Images/Louisa Gouliamaki
    A migrant family waits to be registered at Lesbos on June 18, 2015.