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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

French police clear out another migrant camp in central Paris

Police have cleared out some 28,000 migrants from Paris camps in the past three years

French CRS anti-riot police officers stand guard by migrants and refugees queing during the evacuation by police of their makeshift camp along the Canal de Saint-Martin at Quai de Valmy in Paris, on June 4, 2018. More than 500 migrants and refugees were evacuated on early Monday from a makeshift camp that had been set up for several weeks along the Canal. Lucas Barioulet / AFP
French CRS anti-riot police officers stand guard by migrants and refugees queing during the evacuation by police of their makeshift camp along the Canal de Saint-Martin at Quai de Valmy in Paris, on June 4, 2018. More than 500 migrants and refugees were evacuated on early Monday from a makeshift camp that had been set up for several weeks along the Canal. Lucas Barioulet / AFP

French police removed around 500 migrants – mostly Afghans but some Africans – from a makeshift tent encampment in central Paris at dawn Monday.

In the operation near Canal Saint Martin, buses transported the migrants to lodgings around the Paris region where they can pursue asylum requests.

Some of the migrants were hopeful the move will help them get certainty about their future.

James Okafor, who said he fled his home country of Nigeria after being attacked, said he "will be very happy to leave the camp" because it will help him meet officials who will decide if he can stay in France.

An anti-riot policeman stands guard in front of migrants sit aboard a bus after being evicted by French police from a makeshift camp along the Canal de Saint-Martin at Quai de Valmy in Paris, on June 4, 2018. More than 500 migrants and refugees were evacuated on early Monday from a makeshift camp that had been set up for several weeks along the Canal. Lucas Barioulet / AFP
An anti-riot policeman stands guard in front of migrants sit aboard a bus after being evicted by French police from a makeshift camp along the Canal de Saint-Martin at Quai de Valmy in Paris, on June 4, 2018. More than 500 migrants and refugees were evacuated on early Monday from a makeshift camp that had been set up for several weeks along the Canal. Lucas Barioulet / AFP

Others, like an Afghan who gave his name only as Desajan, was apprehensive. "All people in here don't know other languages – French, English – they don't know what to do," he said.

A smaller camp at Porte de Poissonniere was also cleared out Monday morning.

Deputy Paris Mayor For Emergency Housing Ian Brossat said "the large majority" from the Paris camps "will see their asylum rights recognized in one of the European countries."

Brossat said that an incident last month in which two migrants drowned nearby, and the proliferation of bloody fights between rival camp dwellers, have increased pressure on the French Interior Ministry to close the camps and provide lodging for the migrants.

"There have been abominable conditions in these camps and the government has finally understood that there is no other solution that sheltering them," he said.

Workers clean up a migrants' makeshift camp along the Canal de Saint-Martin at Quai de Valmy in Paris, following its evacuation on June 4, 2018. More than 500 migrants and refugees were evacuated on early Monday from a makeshift camp that had been set up for several weeks along the Canal. Lucas Barioulet / AFP
Workers clean up a migrants' makeshift camp along the Canal de Saint-Martin at Quai de Valmy in Paris, following its evacuation on June 4, 2018. More than 500 migrants and refugees were evacuated on early Monday from a makeshift camp that had been set up for several weeks along the Canal. Lucas Barioulet / AFP

Paris police have already cleared out some 28,000 migrants from Paris camps in the past three years, but the arrivals haven't slowed.

Last Wednesday, Paris police moved some 1500 migrants from the capital's largest makeshift camp.

France's quandary is shared by other European nations seeking to manage the stream of new arrivals, which has ebbed since the mass Syrian refugee crisis a few years ago but remains a steady challenge.

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