Europe

France: Migrant camp cleared in Paris suburb

More than 2,000 asylum seekers, refugees told to vacate unsanitary encampment just outside Paris center

Cindi Cook   | 17.11.2020
France: Migrant camp cleared in Paris suburb New evacuation of the migrant camp takes place at the gate of Paris, near Saint Denis (Seine saint denis 93) at dawn on November 17, 2020. Several thousand refugees were sheltered by bus, by the Paris police prefecture. French police Tuesday launched an operation to clear a migrant camp of more than 2,000 refugees, asylum seekers and new arrivals in the northern Paris enclave of Saint-Denis. ( Julien Mattia - Anadolu Agency )

PARIS 

French police Tuesday launched an operation to clear a migrant camp of more than 2,000 refugees, asylum seekers and new arrivals in the northern Paris enclave of Saint-Denis.

New evacuation of the migrant camp in Paris

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 17: New evacuation of the migrant camp takes place at the gate of Paris, near Saint Denis (Seine saint denis 93) at dawn on November 17, 2020. Several thousand refugees were sheltered by bus, by the Paris police prefecture. French police Tuesday launched an operation to clear a migrant camp of more than 2,000 refugees, asylum seekers and new arrivals in the northern Paris enclave of Saint-Denis. ( Julien Mattia - Anadolu Agency ) 

The police action began at 7 a.m. (0600GMT), coordinated by the Paris police headquarters, prefecture of the Ile-de-France, and Saint-Denis police. Some videos shared on social media show French police using tear gas against the migrants.

The encampment, which held up to 2,400 people according to various sources, is located under the A1 motorway junction near the Stade de France, the main sports stadium outside the center of Paris in the commune of Seine-Saint-Denis.

Several hundred tents have made up the site, with migrants settling there since August.

The camp has since grown very large with the conditions deemed unsanitary, especially as it relates to COVID-19 with no water source for washing hands and very little use of masks.

In a statement, Paris police prefect Didier Lallemont said: "These camps are not acceptable. This operation takes place to ensure that people in a regular situation are sheltered and those in an irregular situation are not intended to remain in the territory."

Buses are ready to take the migrants to reception sites and gymnasiums further out in the Ile-de-France, the region that encompasses Paris.

Minister of the Interior Gerard Darmanin stood behind the action, saying on twitter Tuesday: "Under my instruction, the Paris prefecture this morning is evacuating an illegal encampment of 2,000 people living in deplorable sanitary conditions in Saint-Denis. Thanks to the mobilized security forces and the agents of the 75th prefecture who ensure their shelter."

Earlier, a migrant camp in Calais was disbanded in 2016. Its horrid conditions had earned it the nickname "the Jungle."

The camp with 1,918 inhabitants, who were later moved to 80 shelters, became a symbol of the government's inability to manage a burgeoning immigration problem, especially on France's coast where migrants gather seeking a better life.

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