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Port de la Chapelle

Police evict thousands of migrants from Paris… again

On Friday morning 2 500 migrants were evacuated from the Port de la Chapelle, in Paris after reports of growing tensions and their squalid living conditions had surfaced.

Published: July 10, 2017, 6:30 am

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    Despite the city opening two new centres at the Paris City Hall to register and temporarily house migrants arriving in the city, the problem of people sleeping on the sidewalks has increased.

    The Paris Police Prefect said in a statement: “These illegal camps present a security and public health risk for both the occupants and local residents.” Port de la Chapelle is situated right next to the railway lines where high-speed Eurostar trains travel to London.

    French police evicted thousands of migrants, Paris City Hall official Dominique Versini told Reuters, as their numbers had increased to over 2000, with some 100 a day arriving in the north of Paris. Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said earlier this week the situation was getting out of hand because more than 400 had arrived in a week.

    Versini told CNews TV station, many of the migrants were from Eastern Africa as well as the Middle East. They were being bussed out to temporary lodgings by law enforcement.

    Local authorities have also reported a rise in recent weeks of Africans roaming the streets of the northern port city of Calais again, where the notorious “Jungle” camp was razed to the ground last November before the presidential elections.

    Migrants were taking the train from Italy to Paris without a ticket or being stopped, it seems. Some migrants displayed large cardboard signs which read: “We want to go to the United Kingdom”.

    Last month a van driver was killed on the highway near Calais, where UK-bound migrants had blocked the road with tree trunks. The Polish-registered van burst into flames when it crashed into trucks. Africans try to stop trucks bound for Britain via Calais, by blocking the roadways so that they can slip into the cargo-section of slowing or stopped vehicles.

    A spokesman for the Prefecture du Pas-de-Calais said the fatal crash took place near the town of Guemps, adding: “This van hit one of the three trucks stopped by the block and set alight. The identity of the driver is not known at this stage, considering the state of the body.” Nine Africans found in one of the heavy goods trucks held up by the roadblock were arrested and were taken into custody.

    Riot police moved in just after dawn to evacuate the men at Port de la Chapelle to “different parts of France”. But a source told blogger Westmonster that he believes it was just a smokescreen to appear tough, and that the men would be back in Paris within days. Apartments were currently being converted into of multiple occupation lodgings in anticipation of migrants returning to the French capital.

    This operation marked the 34th of its kind to take place in Paris over the last two years and no improvement has been registred.

    French news outlets highlighted the growing problem of migrants boarding trains in Italy, without a ticket, and crossing right through into France without being checked, or punished for travelling without a ticket. Migrants had also tried to gain entry into France at Ventimiglia, the last Italian town before the Cote d’Azur.

    But they were not welcome. The mayor of Ventimiglia recently passed a municipal by-law to prohibit the inhabitants from feeding the migrants, a decree that has resulted in the arrests of militants coming to distribute water and bags of food.

    The number of migrants crossing into Europe from Africa will be in the millions within five years unless urgent action is taken, a senior EU official has warned. In an interview with Il Messagero newspaper, Antonio Tajani said a massive exodus of biblical proportions awaited Europe.

    Tajani, president of the European Parliament, said the crisis was being underestimated. “Population growth, climate change, desertification, wars, famine in Somalia and Sudan. These are the factors that are forcing people to leave. If we don’t confront this soon, we will find ourselves with millions of people on our doorstep within five years.”

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