1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Police clear migrant camp in Paris

September 16, 2016

Police are evacuating a makeshift camp in northern Paris where more than 1,500 migrants have been living in unsanitary conditions. Many refugees arrive in France hoping to eventually make the crossing to Britain.

Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Y. Valat

Paris city authorities said police began an operation at dawn on Friday to remove migrants camping out on a stretch of pavement near the suburb of Montmartre.

"There are a lot of families with children, more than usual. They will obviously be looked after," Housing Minister Emmanuelle Cosse told AFP news agency from the scene.

An official with the Paris regional administration said more than 1,000 people - most of them from Afghanistan, Sudan and Eritrea - had been shuttled to temporary shelters by mid-morning. Authorities said they would be provided with food and medical treatment, as well as help applying for asylum for those who are eligible.

The official, who did not wish to be named, said a small number of the estimated 1,600 migrants at the site had refused to go to the reception centers. Some had wanted to stay behind and instead try and make the Channel crossing to the UK, the official said.

Paris Camp Flüchtlinge Migranten Räumung 'Avenue de Flandre' Frankreich
French riot police patrol the makeshift camp in Avenue de Flandre following the evacuation of migrants from the siteImage: picture-alliance/dpa/Y. Valat

Tackling migrant camps

Friday's sweep was the latest of several operations over the past year aimed at keeping a handle on tent camps springing up around the French capital. In July, police removed around 2,500 migrants from another camp in northern Paris - the largest evacuation of its kind so far in the city.

France has received only a small number of the more than a million migrants who have arrived in Europe over the past 18 months. Many see France as a transit country to other destinations like the UK. Still, Paris and other French cities have battled to cope with the stream of new arrivals, most of whom end up living in tents.

Last week, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced plans to set up the city's first refugee camp by October to help accommodate the dozens of newcomers camping on the streets.

France has copped a lot of criticism for its handling of the refugee crisis, particularly over its failure to close a sprawling camp in the northern coastal city of Calais. Dubbed "The Jungle," the camp is home to more than 7,000 migrants living in squalid conditions.

nm/kms (AP, AFP)