Shots fired at planned migrant centre in France

Migrants walk past makeshift shelters in the northern area of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, Sept 6, 2016.
Migrants walk past makeshift shelters in the northern area of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, Sept 6, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

NANTES, France (AFP) - French police were investigating on Wednesday (Oct 5) after shots were fired at a building set to host migrants evicted from the squalid "Jungle" camp in Calais.

The gunshots, fired on Tuesday night, hit the facade of a holiday camp building in Saint-Brevin on the northwestern French coast, police told AFP.

The building is being converted into a migrant hostel and is expecting to host 70 people evicted from the Jungle camp, which President Francois Hollande has vowed will be dismantled by the end of 2016.

Between 7,000 and 10,000 people are living in the Jungle in grim conditions, hoping to stow away on lorries heading across the Channel to Britain from the northern port of Calais.

No one has yet been arrested over the gunfire incident, which Saint-Brevin mayor Yannick Haury deplored as "unacceptable and irresponsible".

Plans to open a migrant centre in Saint-Brevin - which Haury said was a decision taken by the central government with no consultation of local authorities - have raised tensions in the small seaside town of 12,000 residents.

Last month, some 200 people wanting to express support for the migrants, and a similar number opposing the centre, held rival protests in the town.

Attacks against buildings hosting migrants have been frequently reported across Europe since the surge of hundreds of thousands of people arriving since 2015, fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa.

Nearly a million people arrived on the continent last year, according to the International Organisation for Migration, as Europe battles its worst refugee crisis since World War II.