Police clear 1600 migrants from two Paris camps

Police clear 1600 migrants from two Paris camps

Before Thursday's evacuation, hundreds of people had been living at the makeshift tent camps in Paris for months.

The move comes a day after the government unveiled a series of measures to curb immigration.

But the operation in the morning of this Thursday in the north of the French capital itself was of a magnitude unusual: 1.606 migrants were evicted from two camps in which they lived in tents and in insanitary conditions, according to the Prefecture of Police.

About 600 police officers were involved in clearing up the camps, as Lallement said a police presence in the areas would be maintained there to stop the migrants from returning.

France's Interior Minister Christophe Castaner had made "the commitment to evacuate by the end of the year the camps of north-east Paris".

But activists say that numerous migrants have nowhere else to go.

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Deputy mayor Emmanuel Gregoire said that apart from the Porte de la Chapelle camp there were another 1,600 migrants in a camp at nearby Porte d'Aubervilliers and more camps at Porte de la Villete and in Seine-Saint Denis, all in northern Paris.

They are among a number of camps to emerge around the city in the last few years.

On Wednesday Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced the closure of tent camps, quotas for migrant workers and limits on access to non-urgent healthcare for newly arrived asylum seekers as part of a drive to show that the government is heeding voters' concerns about immigration.

But the migrants evacuated on Thursday will not be forced to stay in the centres or file for asylum, which many fear could lead to their deportation.

Analysts say that beyond municipal contests in May 2020, he is gearing up for a likely repeat of his 2017 presidential battle against Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Assembly, set for 2022.

Granting asylum seekers the right to remain in the country, he said in a speech on Wednesday, needs to be "actively based on our principles and goals".

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