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Police clear out '2,500' migrants from Paris camp

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Police clear out '2,500' migrants from Paris camp
ALL Photos: AFP
10:21 CEST+02:00
Police in Paris carried out their 26th eviction order on a migrant camp on Friday with 2,500 mainly young men from Syria and east Africa evacuated.

The eviction took place on Friday morning near Juares Metro station on the border of the 10th and 19th arrondissements where the camp had built up underneath the overground train line.

Scores of riot police were drafted in to help with the operation that resulted in tense scenes due to the sheer number of migrants and refugees involved.

While official estimates on the number of migrants in the camp were around 1,500, Le Parisien newspaper suggested the was as high as 2,500 after hundreds more moved into the area on Thursday in order to be part of the eviction.

Tear gas was used as the crowd of migrants pushed forward to get on some of the buses that had been laid on.

The camp had built up over recent months after police had cleared out several others in the neighbouring area and more refugees and migrants arrived in the French capital.

In recent days tensions have flared as the summer heat only worsened the squalid conditions underneath the Metro tracks.

Many migrants and refugees pass through Paris on their way to northern France from where they hope to make it to the UK, while others head for northern Europe from the nearby Gare du Nord train station.

The migrants were put on buses and taken out of the area with around 1,500 short term accommodation places being made available for them around the country.

However many are expected to end of up living on the streets of the capital once again, probably in another squalid makeshift camp that will no doubt emerge.

The head of the French Immigration and Integration Office, Didier Leschi, said some were passing through France and were planning to seek asylum in other European countries.

Others, however, had already been granted asylum in France "but cannot find work and don't know where to live."

 

Migrant support groups complain of a dire shortage of accommodation for asylum-seekers, saying the 20,000 spaces created in the past two years are insufficient in the face of a constant stream of new arrivals.

Over the past year, squalid camps have repeatedly cropped up in northern Paris -- with the police intervening each time to dismantle them.

In May, the city's mayor Anne Hidalgo announced plans to create a refugee camp with proper facilities, scheduled to be up and running in September.

The other main destination in France for refugees and migrants is the northern port of Calais, where thousands of people are camped out in the hope of stowing away in a truck bound for Britain.

Pierre Henry, head of France Terre d'Asile, a charity that helps refugees and asylum seekers, called for other French cities to step up to the plate.

"We need (accommodation) centres in all the regional capitals, to receive the refugees and help them get their bearings, so that people are not drawn just to Paris and Calais," he said.

 

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