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AFGHAN AND KURDISH REFUGEES CLASH IN FRANCE - 2001-11-21


At least 29 people have been injured in clashes between Afghan and Kurdish refugees at a Red Cross camp in northern France.

French riot police moved in today (Wednesday) to break up the fighting, which began overnight at the Sangatte camp, near Calais. It was the latest of several violent incidents at the camp.

The clashes were sparked by an Afghan drinking water directly from a tap. His action irritated a Kurd, who hit him. People began throwing stones as the violence escalated.

Some 150 Kurds involved in the fighting spent Tuesday night outside the camp.

On Wednesday morning about 400 refugees of various nationalities left the camp to get away from the fighting.

The camp is located about two kilometers from the English Channel tunnel, which connects France with England. Refugees gather there hoping for a chance to use the tunnel to enter Britain, where they seek asylum. Since the start of the year English and French border police have arrested thousands of refugees trying to enter Britain illegally.

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