The regional police authority has slapped a ban on demonstrations “relating to the migration situation” in Calais and two neighbouring towns on Saturday and Sunday.
The move followed a call by Calais Migrant Solidarité-No Border – a small organisation that police, the government and right-wing politicians have accused of inciting migrants to violence and politically exploiting the situation – to rally near a migrants’ centre and one by right-wing anti-migrant groups, Calais Libre and Reprenons Calais, for a counter-demonstration.
“The proximity of these two antagonistic groups is likely to give rise to tensions even serious threats to public order,” a statement by the Pas de calais préfecture said.
Several far-right groups, such as the anti-migrant Pegida, have defied bans to demonstrate this year, leading to a number of arrests, including that of retired Foreign Legion General Christian Piquemal who appears in court in Boulogne on 12 May.
An estimated 3,500-5,000 migrants are living in a shanty town in Calais, hoping to get to the UK.