RNLI lifeboat crew members were subjected to “horrible” abuse and saw their boat blocked by a group of angry people – just days after 27 migrants perished at sea.
Zoe, from Hastings, told LBC’s James O’Brien she witnessed the group blocking the RNLI lifeboat and shouting, “don’t bring any more of those home, we’re full up, that’s why we stopped our donations, and that kind of really horrible stuff.”
She added: “It was really upsetting, and you could hear the hatred in their voice.”
Zoe said she was on the beach, near the harbour arm, with her boyfriend on Saturday November 20, when they “heard the lifeboat station opening up and thought ‘oh they have a call’ and started watching.”
She said as the “lifeboat crew pulled the boat out and were going to go into the water”, a group of people “stood directly in the line of the boat so the boat couldn’t be put in the water.”
“Are you sure?” O’Brien asked her.
“I’m absolutely sure, the police were called,” she replied. “It really shook me to the core and we thought of it yesterday night when we saw the news that people had passed away again.”
A spokesperson for the RNLI has told the Hastings Observer: “We can confirm an incident was reported to the police. The lifeboat was able to launch and the station remains on service.”
France is to put forward proposals for tackling the Channel migrant crisis as the interior minister suggested talks with the UK could resume.
Gerald Darmanin has said prime minister Jean Castex will be writing to Boris Johnson on Tuesday with proposals for a “balanced agreement” between the UK and the EU.
He said discussions could take place “very quickly” if the British are prepared to enter negotiations in a “serious spirit”.
A Government source said it appeared to be a “positive” move after the diplomatic row which erupted following the capsize last week of a migrant boat with the loss of 27 lives.
Mr Johnson infuriated French president Emmanuel Macron when he posted a letter on Twitter calling for joint patrols on French beaches and the return to France of migrants who succeed in making the dangerous Channel crossing.
Mr Macron said it was not a serious way to negotiate, while Home Secretary Priti Patel was disinvited from a meeting in Calais on Sunday of ministers from France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany to discuss the crisis.
But speaking at a press conference on Monday, Mr Darmanin said the two countries needed to work together to deal with a shared problem.
“From the moment there is no more double-speak, and we can discuss in a serious spirit, and our private exchanges correspond to our public exchanges, the French government is ready to very quickly resume discussions with Great Britain,” he said.
Mr Darmanin said said the proposals by Mr Castex could include ways to open up legal routes to the UK and for asylum seekers and to allow unaccompanied minors to join relatives in Britain.
However he said France could not accept the practice of turning back boats at sea, adding “This is a red line for the French government”.
Meanwhile Mr Johnson is due to hold talks online with another of the key European players – Belgian prime minister Alexander de Croo.
Downing Street continues to insisted a returns agreement, as set out by Mr Johnson in his letter, would be the “single biggest deterrent” to migrants attempting the Channel crossing.