A makeshift church and mosque at the Calais camp known as the Jungle which is populated by thousands of migrants was demolished by the French authorities on Monday.
The move was part of a plan to clear a 100m (328ft) security zone around the camp’s perimeter. The pastor for the church clashed with police holding riot shields as excavation machines crushed the simple structure, leaving an empty muddy field beneath.
The regional official, said that the migrants were informed on Jan. 19 of the pending demolition, adding that no one was hurt in the operation. He also said the mosque had already been abandoned and no one protested its being razed.
Rev. Teferi Shuremo said authorities had told him the church was “safe” from demolition.
“They are trying to destroy peace,” clinging to a huge wooden cross and pledging to build another church.
Nearly 4,000 people from Syria, Sudan and other countries have camped out in Calais as they try to reach Britain, some moved to new facilities and most of them are still sleeping in Europe’s biggest slum. The French government has come under fire for failing to provide basic care for the migrants, who have built their own shelters, schools, stores and places of worship.