French police evicted thousands of migrants living on sidewalks in an area of northern Paris as dawn broke on Friday - many of them people who fled war or strife in countries as far away as Sudan, Eritrea and Afghanistan. Mia Womersley reports.
Thousands of migrants living on the streets of Paris have been evicted. As dawn broke on Friday, dozens of police and white vans moved in to clear the area. Up to 2,500 men and women had set up temporary homes on the sidewalks in the north of the French capital. Many of them had fled war or strife in countries as far away as Sudan, Eritrea and Afghanistan. (French) SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE ILE-DE-FRANCE REGION'S PREFECT'S OFFICE, FRANCOIS RAVIER, SAYING: "The idea of this operation is first to get the migrants off the streets, but it is also to give people shelter in the right conditions, shelter both in terms of food and accomodation but also where needed, on demand, medical assessments and medical care." It's thought about 100 migrants a day were arriving in the area. There were concerns about the camps being a security and public health risk for both residents and locals. Escorted onto buses, the migrants will be taken to temporary lodgings like gym buildings. President Emmanuel Macron has asked for a plan to speed up processing of asylum requests. The idea would be to decide within 6 months of an application being received whether someone is granted refugee status or sent back. Paris City Hall had set up two new centres to register and temporarily house migrants. Despite that, the numbers at this street camp had still swollen. Local authorities have also reported a recent rise in the number of migrants roaming around the northern port city of Calais. A sprawling illegal camp there was razed to the ground last November. Its inhabitants were dispatched to other parts of the country.