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Paris police clear 500 migrants from camp


Migrants walk next to makeshift tents set up at a camp in Calais, northern France, on Novenber 26, 2019. (Photo by DENIS CHARLET / AFP)

French police removed several hundred migrants from a camp in northeast Paris on Thursday, the latest move in a crackdown on the makeshift settlements that regularly spring up in the capital.

“More than 500 people, including 216 of the most vulnerable [families and single women], have been brought to dedicated shelters or to centres for examining their situations,” an official with the Ile-de-France regional authority encompassing Paris told AFP.

The operation was carried out without incident, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.


It was the 60th evacuation of a camp in Paris since the European migrant crisis began in 2015, and came three weeks after some 1,600 people were removed from two sprawling camps on the city’s northern edges.

The government has vowed to clear all camps in the capital by the end of the year after President Emmanuel Macron said France must end its “lax” approach to immigration.

Critics say that unless the migrants are provided secure lodgings or a prospect of legal residency, many will simply return to the streets.

More than 19,000 people have been removed from camps in or near Paris since the beginning of this year, the Ile-de-France authority said Thursday, adding that police patrols have been increased to discourage new camps.

“Several have returned to the streets” in recent days, a collective of migrant aid groups, including Medecins du Monde (Doctors of the World), said Thursday, denouncing, in particular, the destruction of the migrants’ tents.

Oumar, a 37-year-old who said he was from Sudan, waited in line for a bus Thursday morning but in the end was unable to board because there was no more room.

“It’s always the same, we spend two weeks there and then they tell us to leave,” he told AFP.


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