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Makeshift migrant camps under a Paris metro bridge (Video, RT)

Seven French mayors warn government of mounting migrant crisis

The mayors of seven major French cities warned that the continued flood of migrants have them "backed up against a wall". They urged the government of Emmanuel Macron Paris to address the mounting strain on their communities.

Published: December 20, 2017, 8:19 am

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    There are too little resources made available to care for additional asylum seekers in the already-overcrowded shelters, the mayors noted in an article published in Le Monde this month.

    The mayors of Lille, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Grenoble, Rennes, Toulouse and Nantes have sounded the alarm on government inaction faced with the refugee crisis.

    Available housing facilities are all “completely full” according to the mayors with asylum applications spiking towards the end of the year. “The year 2017 ends with a massive increase in asylum applications and the arrival of newcomers puts extreme pressure [on local administrations],” they explained.

    They proposed a “network of solidarity between the cities of France” and demanded the government hold an extended meeting “at the highest level, without delay” to discuss the “social emergency”.

    In response, the French Interior Ministry has issued a proposal for a resettlement scheme to add some 20 000 more housing units by 2018, AFP reported. It would mean making public as well as private property available for the purpose of a “balanced distribution” of migrants across France.

    Earlier some 50 French detention center staff in a Paris suburb had taken sick leave to protest new arrivals, and appalling working conditions. Police officers said they were incapable of “adequately dealing” with the detainees due to staff shortages.

    The officers said: “The detainees are aware of it, so they do what they want.”

    France has been one of the EU members most affected by the migrant crisis. When the Calais “Jungle” camp was demolished in October 2016, some 6 000 migrants were relocated to various migrant centers across the country.

    Parisians say they will start a hunger strike if the hundreds of migrants sleeping on their streets are not removed. Afghan and Syrian migrants have set up camp in their northern Paris arrondissement.

    Makeshift camps have sprung up all over the city with migrants sleeping rough on the streets of the French capital.

    “We had to install this fence to protect our communal parking from liters and liters of urine – this obviously cost money,” a concerned resident, told RT.

    Pierre Vuarin, a spokesman for the neighbourhood association, has written an open letter to President Macron, asking him to take action. Over the last two years, as many as 40 000 people have flooded into the area.

    In August this year, some 2500 migrants, mostly Africans, were evicted from a makeshift camp in the north of Paris.

    The prefectures and police of Ile-de-France issued in a joint statement on the risks. According to AFP, authorities said the “illicit encampments” were posing “significant risks to the safety and health of their occupants and residents”.

    In addition, rivalry between the Afghan and Sudanese migrants have cause further tensions.

    Meanwhile Paris’s Mayor Anne Hidalgo recently banned the city’s main Christmas market for being insufficiently elegant.

    The social commentator Mathieu Bock-Côté wrote recently that France was experiencing “a process of national and civilizational decomposition that the authorities have decided to accompany and moderate, without claiming to fight and overthrow it, as if it were unavoidable”.

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