Po­li­ce swoop on Pa­ris mi­grant camp af­ter Ca­lais Jun­gle clea­rout

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

FRAN­CE - French ri­ot po­li­ce swoop­ed on an il­legal mi­grant camp in nor­the­as­tern Pa­ris just af­ter dawn yes­ter­day, spar­king a brief stand­off at a si­te whe­re num­bers ha­ve soa­red sin­ce the clo­su­re of the Jun­gle camp in the nor­thern port ci­ty of Ca­lais.

The ope­ra­ti­on, lar­ge­ly con­sis­ting of iden­ti­ty checks on so­me of an esti­ma­ted 2,500 mi­grants slee­ping rough around a ca­nal and ur­ban train brid­ge near Pa­ris’s Sta­ling­rad me­tro sta­ti­on, ca­me as pres­su­re mounts on the govern­ment to clear and shut the camp. Ten­si­on has ri­sen in tan­dem with spe­cu­la­ti­on that po­li­ce will mo­ve in to eva­cu­a­te and clo­se the camp de­fi­ni­ti­ve­ly in the co­ming days, as the Pa­ris au­tho­ri­ties are de­man­ding. A Reu­ters jour­na­list at the sce­ne said a dig­ger mo­ved in to clear a small part of the camp, a tenta­cu­lar sprawl of tents, mat­tres­ses, blan­kets and the me­a­ger be­lon­gings of mi­grants who co­me in lar­ge part from war-torn coun­tries such as Af­gha­nis­tan.

Mi­grants shou­ted at po­li­ce in ri­ot gear as the dig­ger swept de­bris and rub­bish away in a small sec­ti­on of the camp, which was other­wi­se left lar­ge­ly in­tact. One po­li­ce­man spray­ed a mi­grant with tear gas.

Af­ter a cou­ple of hours, po­li­ce al­lo­wed mi­grants to mo­ve back in af­ter a ti­dy-up by mu­ni­ci­pal cle­a­ning wor­kers.

In a let­ter sent to In­te­ri­or Mi­nis­ter Ber­nard Ca­ze­neu­ve, a co­py of which was ob­tai­ned by Reu­ters, Pa­ris May­or An­ne Hi­dal­go re­quested that the camp be shut rapid­ly on hu­ma­ni­ta­ri­an and sa­ni­ta­ry grounds.

Ci­ty Hall of­fi­ci­als say the num­bers li­ving and slee­ping rough in the area ha­ve swol­len by about a third sin­ce the eva­cu­a­ti­on last week of the Jun­gle camp in Ca­lais, whe­re mo­re than 6,000 pe­o­p­le we­re li­ving, most of them in the ho­pe of ma­king it across the short Chan­nel sea cros­sing to Bri­tain.

The Ca­lais camp, a vast shan­ty town on san­dy scru­bland whe­re dem­o­li­ti­on wor­kers we­re due to fi­nish their de­struc­ti­on job by the end of Mon­day, ca­me to sym­bo­li­ze Eu­ro­pe’s fraught ef­forts to co­pe with a re­cord in­flux of mi­grants fleeing stri­fe and po­ver­ty in coun­tries from Af­gha­nis­tan to Su­dan.

French Pre­si­dent Fran­cois Hol­lan­de ur­ged Bri­tain at the week­end to shoul­der its part of the res­pon­si­bi­li­ty for 1,500 mi­nors who ha­ve been hou­sed tem­po­ra­ri­ly in con­tai­ner boxes in Ca­lais fol­lo­wing the clea­rout. The rest of the 6,000-plus in­ha­bi­tants of the Jun­gle ha­ve been dis­pat­ched to lod­gings across Fran­ce, pen­ding exa­mi­na­ti­on of their asylum ca­ses.

“It’s up to Bri­tain now to ful­ly li­ve up to its du­ty, that’s not fi­nis­hed yet,” said Pas­cal Bri­ce, the head of Fran­ce’s re­fu­gee ag­en­cy, Of­pra. (Reu­ters)

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