France evacuates new refugee camp in Paris
Police in France have started evacuating refugees from a makeshift camp in northeastern Paris that had recently become a shelter for many of the asylum seekers evacuated from a bigger camp in the port city of Calais.
At least 600 police officers started the evacuation early Friday, escorting the refugees to dozens of buses that will take them to holding centers in and around the French capital.
The refugees will remain in the centers until their requests for asylum are processed.
A spokeswoman for the Paris prefecture said all the refugees will be moved out on Friday.
“The evacuation operation is running smoothly so far,” she said.
The Paris camp, made of tents across several streets, was home to around 3,000 refugees, almost half of whom had arrived just a week ago when police completely demolished the camp in Calais — which was derogatorily referred to as the “Jungle” — late last month.
Authorities said over 6,000 people were evacuated from the camp in Calais to lodgings in towns and villages across the country, where their eligibility for asylum will be assessed.
The refugees, who lived in appalling conditions in tents and temporary shelters in Calais, were unwilling to leave the camp because it was close the Channel Tunnel, which they could use to reach the United Kingdom.
Almost 5,000 refugees reportedly left the Calais camp independently, many of whom took shelter in illegal camps on the sides of roads and in parks in the French capital.
Europe has been facing an unprecedented influx of refugees, who are fleeing conflict-ridden zones in Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria.
Many blame major European powers for the unprecedented exodus, saying their policies have led to a surge in terrorism and war in the violence-hit regions, forcing more people out of their homes.