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2,000 migrants moved from streets of Paris

Published 16/09/2016

Migrants wait to be evacuated from a camp in the north of Paris (AP)
Migrants wait to be evacuated from a camp in the north of Paris (AP)

More than 2,000 migrants who have been living on the streets of northern Paris for weeks have been moved, authorities said, the latest in a string of attempts to find solutions for Europe's migration crisis.

City Hall said two operations were carried out by police and city officials on a stretch of pavement near an elevated metro line not far from the Montmartre area.

One focused on about 80 women and children in the makeshift camp, while the other focused on the men, according to a statement from City Hall.

Housing minister Emmanuelle Cosse said 2,038 people, from Afghanistan, Sudan, Eritrea and elsewhere, were taken in by social services or taken to temporary facilities in the Paris region.

A regional administration official said they are being taken by bus to 74 sites around the Paris region where authorities will give them food and medical treatment and help those who are eligible for asylum.

Aid groups are given government money to house and care for the migrants, but conditions vary widely depending on where they end up.

Those who are not eligible for asylum risk expulsion. Some migrants do not want to stay in France and want to move on to Britain or elsewhere. The administrative head of the Paris region, Jean-Francois Carenco, said authorities cannot help them.

"We cannot take charge of those who do not want to seek asylum in France. Either you want to be in France and you file for asylum or you don't just come to France like that," he said.

Paris authorities have carried out several similar operations this year in the same area, most recently a month ago, but it remains a magnet for migrants. The mayor says several dozen migrants arrive every day and is planning a reception centre for them nearby.

France has come under criticism for its handling of Europe's migrant crisis, notably for allowing thousands to live in squalid conditions in a camp in the northern city of Calais.

A migrant has been killed in a hit-and-run accident on a road leading to the Calais port, according to the regional administration. It was the 12th migrant killed in the Calais area this year.


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