Nearly 400 migrants were rousted from their tent encampment in north-central Paris on June 1 by French police. Most of the migrants were Sudanese, Somalis and Eritreans who were living in the squalid tent city located under the over-ground tracks at La Chapelle Metro station, which is close to the Eurostar terminal that links Paris to London via the Chunnel. Health authorities were on the scene to guide the migrants to other accommodations while the encampment is being demolished.
While the municipal authorities of Paris have insisted that all of displaced migrants be must accommodated whether or not they are seeking asylum in France, it was not clear where they would go since Parisian emergency shelters are now beyond capacity.
Paris police had given warning over the last week that a raid was imminent. The camp in the City of Lights consisted of a collection of tents and mattresses, much of which was soaked with urine leaking from the portable toilets there. When police arrived, some of the migrants had already decamped for another Paris Metro station at Austerlitz. Dozens of police vehicles bolstered by garbage trucks were on the scene, which is near the famous Sacre Coeur basilica church. The migrants were guided to waiting buses, taking their bedding and other belongings with them.
The migrants told the media that they had come to France through Libya after having taken the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean in haphazard boats to Italy. Once processed in Italy, they headed to France, where some of them hope to flee to the United Kingdom.
Parisian authorities had declared before the raid that a disease epidemic was feared, thus giving reason to the sweep. The squalid camp rose up during the summer of 2014. The number of migrants living there doubled since the beginning of 2015.
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