Police have evacuated what is thought to have been the largest squat in France citing fears that the building was a fire hazard. The former university residence south of Paris was home to about 1,000 people, many of them illegal immigrants. Non-governmental organisations are critical, saying not enough help has been given to those who are now homeless. “Those who have residency permits will be taken by bus to hotels and those people who are here illegally will be provided with provisional documents valid for the next 10 days or so and given accommodation but that situation could change,” said one Communist Party councillor.
Local authorities had ordered everyone to leave the building in 2004 but negotiations broke down, apparently after some squatters demanded residency permits and alternative housing. “We don’t deserve this in France,” said one former squatter. “It’s really sad. We don’t know, we’re in the hands of the local authorities, they will decide our fate, we’ll see what they do.” Thousands of families in France face expulsion in a crackdown on illegal immigrants ordered by Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy.