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Migrant camp at la Villette. Photo Utopia 56

Violence erupts between migrants at Porte de la Villette in Paris

Eight Ethiopians were injured, two seriously, in a fight for... cigarettes.

Published: September 15, 2019, 11:43 am


    The neighborhood of La Villette in Paris was the scene of a violent fight on the night of Friday 13 to Saturday 14 September. According to France Bleu, Ethiopian and Sudanese migrants started to quarrel over cigarettes in the migrant camp at Porte de La Villette.

    Eight victims were identified, including six needing emergency care and two in a life-threatening state, reported the radio according to a police source.

    One was injured in the lower back, and the other in the abdomen. Bloody and broken sticks were found on the scene, but no trace of any weapons from which the wounds seemed to have originated. All the Ethiopians, the victims, were supported by the UAS Lariboisière and Hôtel-Dieu.

    Firemen from Montmartre and Aubervilliers were called in, but the perpetrators fled before the arrival of the police.

    According to migrant aid associations, more than 2 000 people are currently registered at the gates of La Villette, Aubervilliers and La Chapelle, in Paris. A figure “rarely seen” according to NGOs who deplore the “exhaustion” of their teams in dealing with the exasperated migrants.

    According to aid association Utopia 56, they are being overwhelmed by requests from the migrant camp in the heart of the Parc de la Villette.

    For the last two years, the Utopia 56 association has been helping migrants by offering emergency shelters to families in their network, for lack of state support. But activists are being overloaded with demands. “A hundred people require accommodation each night, but we do not have the stocks available. We can not continue to help 30 percent of them,” protested Florent Boyer, coordinator of the antenna in Paris.

    “Since the end of the winter break, it has become very complicated.” By camping in the Parc de la Villette, a centre for Parisian cultural life – under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture, pro-immigration activists hope to gain visibility.

    A little over a month ago, the association had already called on the authorities to step in by establishing a camp at Aubervilliers.

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