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Why this refugee camp is scaring 'posh' Parisians

Oliver Gee · 16 Dec 2015, 16:40

Published: 16 Dec 2015 16:40 GMT+01:00

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The 16th arrondissement of Paris is one of the most affluent in the city, made up of wide avenues with tree-lined walkways, enormous homes, and prestigious schools. 
And soon - it will also boast a set of five temporary homes for a population of around 200 migrants and homeless people, according to reports on France Bleu radio.
The structures will be erected "within weeks" in an unused grassy area just off the Avenue du Maréchal Maunoury, which is across the peripherique ring road from the Bois de Boulogne - the second biggest park in Paris. 
The homes will be managed by French non-profit organization Aurore, which houses around 20,000 people in France each year. 
The shelter will be on the west side of Paris in the 16th arrondissement. Photo: GoogleMaps
But not everyone is excited about the project. Over 50,000 local residents signed a petition to block the move, a protest backed by the centre right-wing deputy mayor of the arrondissement, Claude Goasguen.
He wrote on his blog that the Bois de Boulogne park was destined to become "a new Sangatte", referring to the controversial refugee camp on the northern French coastline that saw riots when it was closed by authorities in 2002.
He also pointed out how France's prime minister had already warned that terrorists were taking advantage of the migrant crisis to return to France. 
A real estate agent called Michel who works in the area said such a move was "risky". 
"This is a posh district that's very wealthy," he told France Bleu.
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"There are beautiful cars, apartments with luxurious furnishings and jewellery inside. I'm not saying that these people are thieves, far from it, but when a pot of honey is put next to you, you want to stick your finger in it. It's tempting fate."
Nevertheless, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo pointed out that all the 20 arrondissements needed to pull their weight, and that the 16th currently wasn't.
The buildings are scheduled to be erected in the coming weeks and are planned to remain for five years. However, the project could still be scuppered by Environmental Minister Ségolène Royal, who is yet to look at the proposal. 
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