Channel disaster: 5 crushed to death following panicked launch and police violence

This morning, Tuesday 23rd April 2024, five more people, including a 7 year old girl, died attempting to cross the Channel. This brings the total number of people known to have died at the border so far this year to 21.

Those who died today are reported not to have drowned, but to have been crushed under the weight of the more than 110 people who boarded a dinghy attempting to leave for the UK. The disaster took place in the context of a panicked departure under tear gas fired by police on the beach.

At the end of January, we published a report describing how there have been more deadly incidents on French shores the last year due to the UK and France’s new deal to stop the boats. Today’s events clearly show how fewer boats have led to dangerously overcrowded departures, and how increased police violence on the beaches creates deadly panic.

Also today, the British parliament passed a bill to deport people who come to the UK and claim asylum to Rwanda. But nothing will stop these people from crossing the border. The British government’s cruel pursuit of an increasingly violent and racist policy has already cost too many lives. We stand in solidarity with the loved ones who lost a relative in the Channel today, and with everyone who lost someone at this border.

Photograph courtesy of Association Osmose62