French rail workers refuse to join 'migrant hunt'


The Riviera coastal area in south-east France surrounding the border with Italy has become a major crossing point for migrants from Africa and the Middle East trying to reach northern Europe.  Despite a crackdown on the clandestine crossings by French and Italian police, many migrants continue to attempt the journey, either by by train or the perilous route of railway tracks, despite a series of fatal and serious accidents. French rail employees are increasingly under pressure from both their company and the police to help with the hunt for the migrants. Louise Fessard met with railwaymen who refuse to collaborate with operations that one described as resembling scenes from the WWII German occupation.

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Two days before Christmas, an evening train from the Italian town of Ventimiglia, which lies close to the border with France, travelling west to the nearby French Riviera city of Nice hit a group of migrants following the rail lines towards France, killing an unidentified young man. The rest of the group fled before emergency services and the railway police arrived.