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French police clear out two more migrant camps in Paris

Lucas Barioulet, AFP | Migrants prepare their belongings prior to the evacuation by police of their makeshift camp along the Canal de Saint-Martin in Paris, on June 4, 2018.

French police began on Monday to clear out two illegal refugee camp sites in Paris, following a similar operation last week, in the government’s latest attempt to deal with a migrant influx that France has been facing for the past three years.


A statement from the Paris police department said authorities were in the process of clearing out two illegal refugee campsites at the Porte des Poissonniers in the city's 18th arrondissement, in northeast Paris, and another site next to the city’s popular Canal Saint Martin in the 10th arrondissement. A total of around 1,000 people are thought to live in the camps in squalid conditions.

The migrants are being bussed out to shelters in and around Paris, where they will stay briefly while their administrative situation is examined.

At the Porte des Poissoniers, refugees are mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, some of whom made dangerous trips across the Mediterranean or across the Alps. The Canal Saint-Martin camp houses mostly Afghans who have been refused asylum elsewhere in Europe.

Last week, authorities cleared out around 1,000 migrants from the larger “Millenaire” camp, also in northeast Paris. Those migrants were subsequently taken to various accommodation centres around the capital.

Europe has faced a migrant crisis since 2015 following wars in Libya and Syria. More than 1 million people from Africa and the Middle East, as well as many from Afghanistan, have tried to reach the continent via Turkey or by sea.

In France, much of the migrant influx ended up in the northern port of Calais, where a giant slum was cleared by the authorities in late 2016. Most of the rest have gathered in Paris and the southeast near the Franco-Italian border.

(FRANCE24 with AP and REUTERS)

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