Photos of Paris police using tear gas to disperse a migrant camp have been described as ‘shocking’ by the French Interior Minister.
Gerald Darmanin said ‘Some of the images of the dispersion of the illegal migrant camp at Place de la Republique are shocking’, and has demanded a full report on the incident from Paris police.
Late on Monday, activists erected 500 tents on one of the city’s main squares, which quickly filled with mainly Afghan migrants. About an hour later, police arrived to disperse the pop-up settlement but were met by opposition from migrants and volunteers.
Officers used tear gas to drive the migrants onto the streets of the capital, without offering any relocation to official shelters. This comes a week after a large camp in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis was also shut down without rehousing its residents. A 20-year-old Afghan migrant told AFP ‘we can’t live like animals, we just want to claim asylum’.
Paris has long been a centre for Europe’s migrants, with makeshift camps regularly appearing around the city before being shut down after a few months. In recent times France has joined Italy and the UK in taking a tougher stance on mass migration, which polls suggest is a major concern to many voters. Hardline anti-immigration politician Marine Le Pen is likely to be Emmanuel Macron’s main opponent in the 2022 Presidential election.
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