The French government had promised there would be no bulldozers and no brutal evacuations when it came to 'clearing' the unauthorised refugee camp in Calais known as ‘The Jungle’. But when the huge convoy of Republican Security Companies (CRS) riot police trucks and a water cannon rolled across the road bridge and pulled into the southern end of camp - those assurances well and truly went up in smoke.

Several hundred riot police officers in full body armour, armed with shields, rubber bullets and tear gas guns, marched into the camp two abreast. Refugees looked on in shock with volunteers and aid workers.

Five hours later the makeshift homes of refugees were burning, tear gas was thick in the air and riot police were coming under a heavy hail of rocks.

The riot police formed a heavily armed cordon around the first section of the camp due for eviction. Regional government officials, Prefectures, backed up by heavily-armed, plain-clothes police officers, moved through the cramped, muddy alleyways. They knocked on each door and told the occupants they had one hour to collect their belongings and leave.

An hour later a large team of workers in construction helmets and orange overalls used crowbars, axes, hammers and chainsaws to tear down each dwelling. Some homes were just picked up, rolled over and crushed. Others ripped apart with bare hands. By midday, as refugees surveyed the scenes of destruction and a militarised police force on their door step, the tension was growing.

Several huge fires erupted. The police would later say refugees, encouraged by anarchist activists, burned their homes. Activists and volunteers I spoke with claimed the police had fired tear gas to disperse a growing crowd and several tear gas canisters ignited the plastic tarpaulin of a makeshift building and in seconds a huge fire had engulfed the wooden structure.

There was an explosion, like a shock grenade. Units of riot police formed into a solid wall of shields and rocks started raining down. Multiple rounds of tear gas were fired into the camp, forcing people back. The water cannon truck rolled into position and riot police used a hose to douse the flames. They turned the hose on refugees trying to collect belongings from a smouldering caravan. The response was more rocks thrown back. Then police baton charged, striking out at anyone caught by the blinding and choking tear gas.

The police made a long advance into the camp, and shielded positions were set up on each side of the road, where a riot officer could take aim with baton rounds. It was here an English volunteer called Simon stepped towards the police line, pointing a mirror at them, showing them their reflection, and shouting in French, “There are children here”. Other quickly joined him, their hands raised, shouting, “No fight.”

The riot police retreated for a while, but some inside the camp were intent on taking their frustrations out on them. The exchange of tear gas and rocks continued all afternoon. Then the water cannon fired repeatedly into the crowds.

At dusk the CRS had retreated to the entrances of the camp. Their routine position on the motorway was left unguarded. The police always station several vans there, to deter refugees from trying to get on trucks heading towards Calais port.

Several hundred came running out of the camp, across the no-man's land created by the first stage of evictions that happened in January, and made it to the motorway. Trucks were hit with traffic cones and other improvised weapons, trying to force the vehicles to stop.

The CRS came out of the dark in huge numbers, forming a secure cordon under the motorway bridge at the camp’s main entrance. Huge amounts of tear gas pummelled the front of the camp and the motorway. Refugees were forced back to the camp. Roadside shrubbery burst into flames as the tear gas canisters ignited anything vaguely flammable.

Anyone who dared to step outside the camp was fired on, the tear gas canisters being aimed at their legs.

In the midst of one round of thick gas, a figure ran out of the dark and grabbed the front of my gas mask. He tried to rip it off my face. He was screaming wildly, “No pictures.”

We tussled and I broke his hold on me, but came back at me. Several young Afghan men stepped in and calmed him down.

By seven-thirty in the evening it was all over. A local journalist said rioting always stopped at this time because the refugees and police would go and eat supper. The camp was on lock down. The CRS would not let anyone out. They ignored the requests of one volunteer, who asked for an ambulance for an injured refugee.

The next morning the army of riot police moved in at exactly the same time. This time two water cannons appear over the brow of the bridge.

The CRS fanned out across the next sector of camp marked for demolition, removed volunteers, aid workers and journalists, while the Prefectures told refugees to leave immediately.

A few protested, climbing on the rooftops of huts. The weather was bitterly cold and wet, with strong gusting winds. There were shouts coming from one rooftop that was occupied by two people. I was told they were Iranian, the woman was pregnant.

They both yelled out to the police that if they were removed they would kill themselves. First the man brandished a knife in the air. Then as riot police moved in with a ladder the woman held a knife to her left wrist.

People yelled out in horror as she started to make repeated long slashing movements across her left wrist. The first officer up the ladder took at swing at the legs of the man, forcing him backwards, giving the officer room to get on the rooftop. He swiped the man’s legs out from under him and a second officer went in with a baton to disarm the woman. Both were restrained roughly on the rooftop by three police officers, handcuffed and then lowered down to a waiting group of officers on the ground, where they were both arrested and taken away.

The other rooftop occupiers slowly gave up their protest over the day, due the near hyperthermic weather conditions. Refugees walked away with just a rucksack or a sleeping bag under their arm, as the demolition squads, now backed up with bulldozers, crushed their makeshift homes.

The anger and resistance of the first day was long gone. Now most looked lost, not really knowing what to do or where they would go next.

The refugees had few options: firstly, they could move to an official camp nearby. Refugees live in white shipping containers there which are supposed to house eight people each, but many say there are 12 to a container now and conditions cramped. According to a census carried out by aid group Help Refugees prior to the eviction, the southern side of the official camp housed 3455 people, of those 445 were children and 315 were unaccompanied.

Refugees fear the official camp registration system, which requires a hand scan to enter or leave the facility. Many believed the scan records fingerprints, which once taken would deny the individual any possibility of attempting to claim asylum in the UK.

The second option given was to board one of two buses, arranged by local authorities daily, to be taken to shelters in other parts of France, most of which seem to be in the south. This was no good for those trying to reach family in the UK, the main explanation people give as to why they want asylum there.

The final option was to join the growing number of refugees in another unauthorised camp, Grande-Synthe, near Dunkirk, where it's estimated 2,500 people are living in conditions that many describe as like the trenches of World War One.

There are no sewage facilities, very few water supplies, no refuse collection and people are suffering the vicious weather in flimsy, disposable tents.

Since the camp started to grow from August last year, the French police imposed a blockade at the entrance, to stop aid and building materials entering the camp and another 'Jungle' like the one in Calais being created.

The camp was under water, in places there were deep trenches of contaminated water. The mud was thick and deep. Everywhere you looked there were shoes or wellington boots discarded after people lost them to the sludge.

Sickness was rife - influenza, pneumonia, diarrhoea and dysentry. Many of the people in the camp were families with small children, often as many as five to a tiny tent. Most were Kurdish, fleeing ISIS , but also increasingly fleeing international bombing.

The Jungle was a wider mix. Iraqis, Afghans, Syrians, Sudanese, Egyptians, Eritreans and Ethiopians, each country an example of war, oppression, persecution, poverty and famine. It was not all young men either, as is often claimed. Many of the Eritreans are young women and there are families too.

I've covered the events at the so-called 'Jungle' for months. Before the raid, Amir who I had got to know well told me that he had lived with his wife in the Jungle for seven months. Amir being Muslim, his wife a Christian, they had fled Iran and tried to reach the UK. When their daughter Rosie was born three months ago at the local hospital, Amir claimed the French authorities gave him an ultimatum.

“They said they would not let me take my baby back to the Jungle,” Amir said. “They said if I had my fingerprints taken they could do something for me, or if I didn’t they would give my baby to another family. We finished the asylum process, did the finger prints, then the government told us to go back and live in the Jungle.”

Before the police moved in, the family lived in a small caravan, donated by a UK charity, but it was on the southern side that was marked for demolition.

Amir said he did not know where they would do when the eviction started and he felt helpless. “As refugees where are we supposed to go?” he asked.

Come Thursday, after the police raids and with about a quarter of the area marked for demolition now cleared, Amir and his family were moved out of the eviction zone by an aid group.

From an information centre just behind an Ethiopian church, made famous after BBC television broadcast Songs of Praise from there, eight Kurdish Iranian men appeared, their faces covered. They walked towards the group of press that had gathered.

Seven of the men had their mouths sewn up with black cotton. One held a placard saying, ‘We left our country and came here to find our human rights but we have found none.’ Another placard called for representatives of the United Nations and Human Rights groups to visit the camp to witness what the refugees were facing.

The eighth man sat down on a chair. A tall thick-set man stepped in, peering through two holes cut into a grey and black patterned scarf used to hide his identity. He leaned towards the man in the chair and started to stitch the man’s lips together.

At first the man moaned, then he wailed and called out to God. Onlookers turned away in horror, people held each other and cried.

When the stitching was finished all eight men stood in a line and slowly walked along the main road in the camp towards the riot police cordon protecting the demolition. Officers called for reinforcements and police armed with tear gas guns appeared.

The Iranians walked within a metre of the cordon, turned there backs on the riot police and knelt down on the floor in silent protest. One of the men with a red and white checkered scarf covering his face, his mouth stitched, held aloft a sign. It said, ‘Now will you listen?’