‘Explosive situation’: Pro-migrant group forced to end its crucial work in Paris due to violence
Tensions between asylum seekers and police, aggressive drug addicts and government inaction – the volatile atmosphere in a Paris district is forcing a pro-migrant group to cut off their vital volunteer work for newcomers.
Solidarité Migrants Wilson has been distributing food for migrants near Porte de la Chapelle station in Paris' 18th district for 20 months. Yet since August 1 the group has decided to stop their work as they can’t cope with the growing level of violence in the area.
“From the beginning our mission was to serve hot drinks and bread and we have done this for 20 months, every day. During the last month though (July), we started questioning our mission, as we don’t want our volunteers to be put in danger,” Philippe Caro from Solidarité Migrants Wilson explained to RT.
According to Caro, the situation is becoming tense. Migrants cluster in terrible conditions and some of them don’t even have tents, and just sleep on the ground, he said. “Sometimes they are being woken up by police early in the morning, they kick them and use tear gas to move them,” Caro states.
The situation gets even more dangerous when drug addicts show up at food distribution events and cause problems. “It creates additional tension,” Caro says. “They’re aggressive, including towards the volunteers. So this is an explosive situation,” he admits.
The activist blames both the French government and the Paris administration for their inaction which lead to the growing level of violence in the district. “The state is responsible for people on the streets, for taking in migrants. Meanwhile, the authorities in Paris are restricting access to water taps in the summer. It’s irresponsible,” he laments.
Solidarité Migrants Wilson wrote a letter to the Paris administration, explaining that their volunteers won’t be able to work in the area due to tension between police and migrants, as well as the massive presence of drug addicts. The group called upon the city authorities to improve conditions in the district and solve the problems. The volunteers are planning to meet in September to discuss what the group will do next.
France, like other EU states, is currently experiencing the worst refugee crisis since WWII. The number of asylum seekers in the country reached 100,000 in 2017, according to asylumineurope.org.
In June this year France was among those states that said they have no intention of opening refugee facilities on their soil following a summit between EU leaders. At the gathering, a solution was reached which would involve EU members propping up so-called controlled centers on a volunteer basis
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