Police clear 1600 migrants from Paris tent camp

Police clear 1600 migrants from Paris tent camp

The settlement at the Porte de la Chapelle area of the city was located just metres from a new refugee transit centre set up by Paris city authorities late past year to take asylum-seekers off the streets but which has limited space available.

In November previous year, French authorities launched a similar operation, evacuating thousands of refugees from a squalid camp in Paris that had doubled in size after the closure of the Calais refugee camp in northern France.

Most of the 1,600 residents are Afghan and African refugees and migrants.

As of last November, Eleanor reported that Paris police had "cleared 22,000 migrants from tent cities on sidewalks and under train trellises" in the span of a year and a half, moving them to migrant centers such as Morel's.

"And some women and children, who have been taken care of directly", she said.

The evacuation at Porte de la Chapelle is not the first such operation to have been carried in Paris. "I don't know where but it's fine", said one erstwhile resident quoted by Al-Jazeera. The center hosts the would-be immigrants for four days, before helping them to seek other housing alternatives.

The prefecture stressed the fact that these were illegal campsites with serious health and security risks, both for migrants and local neighbours.

The operation, dubbed 'Shelter', was carried out by 350 police officers and about a hundred representatives of city authorities. "They will then go to CAD [reception and orientation centers]", Housing Minister Emmanuelle Cosse told AFP, who mentioned fewer people than the latest figures cited by the city authorities, which put the number at "800-1000 people".

Thousands of migrants and refugees have been relocated across France since the demolition of the sprawling shanty town known as "The Jungle" at Calais in the north last October.