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Police clear central Paris of hundreds of protesting migrants

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By Reuters
Police clear central Paris of hundreds of protesting migrants
Police clear central Paris of hundreds of protesting migrants   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021
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PARIS – French police on Friday herded onto buses hundreds of migrants who 24 hours earlier had pitched tents in front of the Paris City Hall to protest lack of accommodation.

There were no incidents as the migrants were cleared. But Yann Manzi, co-founder of the group Utopia 56 which organised the action, said they would come back if no viable solution is found.

“All the persons evacuated stay in touch with us and if they are put back in the street, we’ll start again with our actions”, Manzi said.

A similar operation was organised on the Paris City Hall forecourt on 1 September last year.

“We have way too many requests which means our accommodation network is saturated … So we had no choice but to organise a “visibilation” action”, Kerill Theurillat, a local leader of Utopia 56 told Reuters before the police cleared the protesters.

Around 200 tents, mainly red, had been set up Thursday, sheltering 300 people, including children, from sub-Saharan Africa.

“I’m living in the street, I have no home, my priority is to have a home and then to go to school”, said Cisse Mohamed, an underage refugee sitting in of the tents.

Many refugees have moved to Paris since the closure of a huge migrant camp in Calais in 2016.

They have fled to France from North Africa, the Middle East and Asia, escaping countries blighted by wars and poverty.