Paris: Double Evacuation of Migrant Camps

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The migrant camp of the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris began to be evacuated by the authorities on the morning of June 4, 2018. (© AFP / LUCAS BARIOULET)

Evacuations were in progress Monday morning on the last two large unhealthy migrant camps in Paris

Evacuations were ongoing Monday morning on the last two large unhealthy migrant camps in Paris, five days after a highly anticipated operation in the northeast of the capital that had allowed the shelter of a thousand people.

The operation began in a calm atmosphere around 6:30 am on the camp of the Canal Saint-Martin, where about 550 people had been counted before the weekend.

Yahye, a Sudanese who was refused asylum, had been sleeping on the canal for two months and waiting Monday morning for buses to bring him “to a camp, a house, a stadium,” he said. in French. He does not know exactly where, but “it will be better than here,” he says.

Fifteen buses mobilized

Originally from Afghanistan , migrants from the Canal Saint-Martin had been living in tents for several months, not far from Stalingrad Square, which had seen wild camps rebuilding several times in 2017.

“It says we can stay in the accommodation not very long, and we will have three meals a day. All the better, here life was very, very difficult, “said Suleiman, a rasta bonnet sunk on his dreadlocks.

An evacuation was also underway near the Porte de la Chapelle, north of Paris , where some 450 people were installed, said the prefecture of Ile-de-France and the police headquarters in a joint statement.

At the end of the two operations, the evacuees will be sheltered and will be the subject of a “thorough and thorough” examination of their administrative situation by the State services, according to this release.

According to the regional prefecture, about fifteen buses were mobilized and 1,200 accommodation spaces reserved in the gym to accommodate migrants.

This operation, the 36th organized in the capital for three years, comes less than a week after the evacuation of the largest camp in Paris, the so-called Millennium, near the gate of Villette. A thousand people were then taken to reception facilities.

Political battle

For several weeks now, the situation in these camps has given rise to growing concern, amidst insalubrity and tensions. In May, a migrant died drowned in the Canal Saint-Martin and a violent brawl made a serious wounded in the “Millennium”.



The management of migrants in Paris was also at the heart of a political battle between the executive and PS Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo.

The government has repeatedly criticized the municipality for not taking the “political responsibility” to request an evacuation. For its part, the city council has rejected the responsibility on the government by calling on it to respect its “legal obligations” in the reception of refugees.

After Monday’s double evacuation, migrants had to be referred to structures adapted to their administrative situation: asylum-seekers, newcomers, or “dublines” already registered in another European country where they are likely to be returned.

“It’s good that people are lodged. But it is feared that many find themselves in CRA (Center of administrative detention, ed). Many are + dublines + registered elsewhere in Europe and we feel a will to send them back, “testified Yann Manzi, of the association Utopia56, present during the evacuation.

This operation comes as Gérard Collomb’s controversial bill toughening the conditions of asylum and immigration has begun to be examined in the Senate.

By presenting this project much criticized by the associations, the Minister of the Interior has recently created a controversy by ensuring that migrants were “benchmarking” by comparing the more or less flexible legislation of European countries.

Nearly sixty migrants have died on Saturday night off Tunisia and Turkey trying to reach Europe, when the new Italian interior minister hammered his anti-immigration speech in Sicily.

Nearly fifty bodies were fished off the Tunisian coast over the weekend, in the deadliest shipwreck of migrants in the Mediterranean since 2 February.

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