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Paris mayor: 'Migrants can't sleep on the street'

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Paris mayor: 'Migrants can't sleep on the street'
Migrants sleep, eat and live on the streets in northern Paris. Photo: AFP
09:40 CEST+02:00
Just days after another makeshift migrant campsite was torn down by Paris police, the city's mayor has said that Paris needs to open a centre in the capital for migrants as they "can't sleep on the streets".
"One thing is for sure: Migrants can't be sleeping outdoors" Mayor Anne Hidalgo told French channel BFMTV
 
She added that Paris needed a centre where migrants could "rest and take time to reflect". 
 
"As we are now being faced with an influx of migrants, we need to open a centre that can help migrants who don't know where they are going to seek asylum," she added.
 
The centre could offer shelter for up to 15 days and could be in place "within a few weeks", she said.
 
François Fillon, the former Prime Minister of France, didn't agree with the idea, telling Le Point that the French expect the government to "send illegal immigrants home" instead of "organizing a tour of Paris".
 
Trouble as riot police evict Paris migrants
(Critics say police were violent in taking down a campsite in the capital on Monday. Photo: AFP)
 
The mayor's words come just days after police forcibly evacuated a migrant campsite in northern Paris. 
 
Critics said the police employed violence to clear the site, with protesters on the scene forming a human chain in a failed effort to stop officers from moving the 100 or so migrants on.
 
Jacques Toubon, head of France's human rights watchdog Défenseur des Droits, told the channel that an investigation had been launched into how the police handled the evacuation.
 

(A migrant sleeps in a park after being booted from the La Chapelle campsite. Photo: AFP)
 
Migrants in Paris are a hot topic at the moment after police shut down another much larger campsite in the capital last Tuesday. The campsite was located near the La Chapelle Metro station and was home to an estimated 400 migrants.
 
At the edge of the campsite, one Sudanese migrant told The Local at La Chapelle that he wasn't sure where he would sleep now that his camp had been taken down. 
 
French police pull down Paris migrant camp
(A scene from the La Chapelle campsite last week. Photo: AFP)
 
"I don't know what I'm going to do now. I have to think. If they gave me papers I would stay in France," he said.
  
"It's a very difficult life. But this is what we have and all we can do is try," he added.
 
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