CALAIS: Workers escorted by scores of French police officers moved into the “Jungle” in Calais on Tuesday, demolishing shacks and tents emptied of migrants who were being bussed to shelters around France.

The demolition work began on the second day of a massive operation to clear the squalid settlement in northern France, where an estimated 6,000-8,000 migrants, mostly Afghans, Sudanese and Eritreans, have been living.

“The start of the clean-up operations sends a sign that La Lande camp is really over,” said Fabienne Buccio, head of security in the region, using the official name for the camp known as the Jungle.

The finality of the operation was driven home by the demolition operation, as mattresses, blankets, clothes, pots and suitcases left behind by the migrants were piled on top of the wood and plastic sheeting used in their shacks.

Wearing hard hats and orange overalls the workers used electric saws to take down wooden shelters and earth-moving equipment to clear debris from the site that has for years been a launchpad for attempts to reach Britain. Riot police carrying shields sealed off the area.

Beforehand, aid workers and officials had gone tent-to-tent to ensure the area had been vacated.

Since Monday, around 2,700 people have been transferred to shelters around France while around 600 unaccompanied minors have been moved to a container park in the Jungle where families had been staying, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

Ali Othman, a Sudanese 18-year-old vowed he would not leave voluntarily. “They can detain me, jail me, throw me out on the street. I still want to go to Britain.” he said, smoking a cigarette outside his tent.

But the sprawling shantytown, one of Europe’s biggest slums, was rapidly becoming a ghost town.

“It makes me sad to see the camp in this state,” said Marie Paule, a charity worker who started volunteering at the Jungle last year. “I have a heavy heart… but it’s the best solution for them.”

The migrants face a choice between requesting asylum in France or being possibly deported.

Earlier on Tuesday, hundreds of anxious minors queued to be interviewed by French and British officials who will decide their fate.

The Doctors Without Borders (MSF) charity accused officials picking those who will be accepted into Britain of excluding a number of children by selecting on the basis of appearance.

Cazeneuve said all unaccompanied minors “with proven family links in Britain” would eventually be transferred and that London had also committed to reviewing all other cases where it was “in the child’s interest” to settle across the Channel.

Britain has taken in nearly 200 teenagers over the past week. Hundreds more are waiting for a decision.

British Interior Minister Amber Rudd pledged to bring eligible children from France to Britain “as quickly and as safely as possible” in the coming days and weeks, without specifying numbers.

Located on wasteland next to the port of Calais, the four-square-kilometre Jungle has become a symbol of Europe’s failure to resolve its worst migration crisis since World War II.