Police clear Paris migrant camp Photo: Reuters/B. Tessier
Police clear Paris migrant camp Photo: Reuters/B. Tessier

The dawn operation was the 35th camp clearance undertaken in the French capital over the past three years. Those living at the "Millenaire" camp in the northeast of the city are being moved to temporary accommodation.

On Wednesday morning, French security forces began the evacuation of the largest migrant camp in Paris, where up to 1,700 people, mostly from Africa, have been living in tents.

Riot police arrived at dawn to oversee the removal of the migrants, who were taken by bus to temporary accommodation centers elsewhere in the Paris region.

The clearance was ordered last week by the French government.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said in a statement that authorities would carry out identity checks on the migrants at more than 20 sites.

The "Millenaire" or Millennium camp runs the banks of two canals, close to the Porte de la Villette metro station in the northeast of the French capital.

It housed mainly Sudanese, Somali and Eritrean migrants.

More camps to be cleared

Officials said two similar camp sites, along the Canal St Martin and the Porte de la Chapelle, which together house some 1,200 migrants, will also be cleared shortly.

Paris has seen dozens of migrant camps spring up during the past three years in the wake of the 2015/16 European migrant crisis, which saw 1.5 million people cross the Mediterranean escaping war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.

An uptick in new arrivals was also noticed following the clearance of a huge migrant camp in the northern French city of Calais in October 2016, which at its peak housed about 10,000 people, according to aid groups.

Migrants await by the side of the river Getty ImagesAFPG Julien

Some 1,700 migrants were cleared from the city's largest camp; several other camps will be targeted in the coming days

Wednesday's clearance was the 35th such evacuation in Paris over the past three years.

French President Emmanuel Macron's government has said it wants to be both firm and fair on immigration but it has taken a tougher stance lately, with Parliament approving a bill that tightens asylum rules.

mm/rt (AFP, AP, Reuters)

First published: May 30, 2018

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