Berliner Tageblatt - France evicts hundreds of migrants from Paris squat ahead of Olympics

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France evicts hundreds of migrants from Paris squat ahead of Olympics
France evicts hundreds of migrants from Paris squat ahead of Olympics / Photo: © AFP

France evicts hundreds of migrants from Paris squat ahead of Olympics

French authorities on Wednesday evicted hundreds of migrants from a squat in a southern suburb of Paris with just 100 days to go until the Olympics, encouraging them to board buses to other parts of France.

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Charities have accused the authorities of seeking to clear homeless people from the French capital to make it look better for the Games from July 26 to August 11.

The abandoned office building in Vitry-sur-Seine had been home to up to 450 migrants, most of them documented but awaiting social housing, according to non-governmental organisations who visited to help them.

Several had left the building earlier in the week after authorities announced the upcoming eviction.

Clutching their belongings in bags, suitcases or trolleys, the some 300 people who had remained left calmly on Wednesday morning under the eye of police in riot gear, looking worried about their next step.

Most were young men, but several young mothers with children were also among the crowd.

One by one, holding documents in plastic folders, they approached immigration officials sitting behind tables to explain their situation in broken French or stilted English.

Buses waited outside, ready to take them to the central city of Orleans or the southwestern city of Bordeaux.

But many people said they did not want to leave the Paris region.

"I want to stay here," said Abakar, a 29-year-old from Sudan who did not give his second name.

He said he was in Paris to follow a logistics course and had been promised a job in a supermarket.

At one table, a woman official tried to convince another young man to try his luck in Bordeaux.

"You know in France, there isn't just Paris. Bordeaux is nice, it's warmer than here," she said.

But he too was attending training in the capital region, and so she directed him to another table where a colleague was in charge of accommodation near Paris.

F.Müller--BTB