Migrants relocated from Paris ahead of Olympic Games

Migrants stand in front of the Paris City Hall, Wednesday, April 3, 2024.
Migrants stand in front of the Paris City Hall, Wednesday, April 3, 2024. Copyright AP
By Euronews with AP
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Aid groups fear the move, which included mostly women and children, is the beginning of a broader effort by Paris authorities to clear people out by the summer.

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The French police removed dozens of migrants from the forecourt of Paris City Hall as the capital gets ready to begin its 100-day countdown to the start of the Olympic Games.

Police arrived at dawn to remove about 50 people. Most were women and children aged 3 months to 10 years, bundled up in strollers, under blankets or covered with plastic sheets to shield against the rain while sleeping in the plaza.

Under police supervision, migrants packed their belongings and boarded a bus to temporary government housing in the town of Besançon in eastern France.

Aid workers have expressed concern that the move is the beginning of a broader effort by Paris authorities to clear out migrants and others sleeping on the street ahead the Olympic Games without providing longer-term housing options.

Migrants stand in front of the Paris City Hall, Wednesday, April 3, 2024.
Migrants stand in front of the Paris City Hall, Wednesday, April 3, 2024.AP

“They’re clearing the way for the Olympic Games,” Yann Manzi, a member of the migrant aid group Utopia 56, told The Associated Press during Wednesday’s police operation in central Paris. “What is happening is nothing short of social cleansing of the city.”

The games will take place between 26 July and 11 August. Olympics organisers have said they are working with aid groups to find solutions.

Many of the families affected are from French-speaking African countries, including Burkina Faso, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Senegal. They have been sleeping beneath the ornate facade of the City Hall for days, weeks and even months.

Aid groups such as Utopia 56 have distributed food, blankets and diapers and helped some of them find temporary lodging for a night or two.

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