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Paris just evicted 1,500 people from a migrant camp

The living conditions in the camp, in the XIX arrondissement, had grown precarious in recent weeks. The migrants slept in tents, on mattresses, and on the street itself.
September 16, 2016, 3:40pm
Évacuation d'un campement de migrants à Paris, 16 septembre (Etienne Rouillon / VICE News)

French police cleared out a migrant encampment in the north end of Paris Friday morning a few weeks before the expected opening of a main humanitarian center in the French capital.

At least 1,500 migrants had been living there, according to the housing minister, Emmanuelle Cosse, who was there when the eviction took place.

The camp on Flandre Avenue in the XIX arrondissement had grown in recent weeks as the sanitary and living conditions became precarious. The migrants slept in tents, on mattresses, and on the street itself.


"There are a lot of families with children who are living here," the minister told Le Monde.

Police patrolling the evicted camp. (Etienne Rouillon / VICE News)

The eviction happened calmly, beginning at 7am, with the deployment of a large police force.

The neighborhood was surrounded and 50 buses were sent to bring the migrants to emergency housing.

On August 17, a similar operation took place in the same camp, with nearly 700 people being brought to housing facilities.

Migrants were brought by the dozens to be brought to reception centers. (Etienne Rouillon / VICE News)

In a document obtained by Le Figaro, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve designed a plan, sent to local officials, to dismantle "the jungle" of Calais, a large encampment in France's north, and ad hoc camps in the capital, like the one taken down on Friday.

The government intends to create 12,000 spaces in shelters around France by the end of 2016. They hope to have thousands living there by the end of October. The purpose of the centers is to assess each person's situation and find them a permanent home.

Cazeneuve wants to divide the refugee housing between all of France, with the "demographic criteria weighted to each region."

Hundreds of people slept for several weeks on the street in the XIX arrondissement of Paris. (Etienne Rouillon / VICE News)

The timeline set by Cazeneuve coincides with the opening of a humanitarian center in Paris.

"The migrants arriving in Paris will soon be welcome in this space, open seven days a week, from 8 am to 8 pm," explained Dominique Versini, a deputy to the mayor in charge of the issue, according to Le Monde.

The project, which includes a second center in a Paris suburb, is intended for families but also for "vulnerable populations, women, children, and those who require important assistance," according to Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. It is expected to open at the end of the year.

Follow Henrique Valadares on Twitter: @HenriqValadares