Paris authorities bulldoze 2 tent camps, relocate over 2,000 migrants (VIDEO)
Authorities moved in at dawn to remove the migrants, who had settled between the Jaurès and Stalingrad metro stations in Paris. Mainly from Sudan, Eritrea and Afghanistan, deprived of welfare and away from home, migrants were forced to sleep in tents with no running water or immediate washing facilities.
At around 7:00 a.m. officers began escorting the migrants onto buses that were tasked with redistributing the refugees to temporary shelters in the Paris region.
The mayor of Paris said two operations were conducted Friday morning near the Montmartre district, where dozens of people had settled under a railway bridge.
The French Minister of Housing, Emmanuelle Cosse, said 2,038 refugees were collected by social services or moved to temporary shelters where they received food and medical care. That number included some 154 “vulnerable persons,” meaning families with children or single women.
Cosse who visited the scene Friday morning promised that the state would “continue to take responsibility and to guide asylum seekers in places available in the entire country.”
“There are many families with children, more than usual. They will obviously be supported,” she added.
Since June of last year, Cosse revealed, some 28 shelters offering some 19,083 accommodation beds have been set up for asylum seekers. These facilities offer guidance for those eligible to apply for asylum. While the French government finance charities to care for the refugees, living conditions vary greatly from one camp to another.
France has been criticized for its handling of migrant influx, especially concerning the squalid makeshift camp near the coastal city of Calais.
In Paris, authorities plan to open the capital’s first refugee camp in mid-October. The center will be housed in a former railway depot in the north of Paris and will offer 400-place men-only beds to take migrants off the city streets. A second 350-bed center for women and children only is expected to be opened in Ivry-sur-Seine to the southeast of Paris by the end of the year.