World Bulletin / News Desk
Hundreds of French police began dismantling a huge migrant camp in northeast Paris on Friday in a fresh sign of the government's determination to take refugees off the streets and into shelters.
Starting at dawn, police arrived to wake up people sleeping in tents or on mattresses out in the open under an overhead metro line, 15 minutes' walk from the Gare du Nord railway station.
The evacuation started calmly and in orderly fashion, with many migrants confused about where they would be taken on government-chartered buses but there were no signs of resistance or violence.
"Where are they taking people? Somewhere in Paris or outside?" worried Abderrahmane, a 19-year-old from Guinea.
The area around Stalingrad, a gritty multi-ethnic area of the capital, is a magnet for migrants arriving in Paris and has been repeatedly cleared by police, only to spring back into life days later.
But six months before elections, Socialist President Francois Hollande has said he is determined to take refugees off the streets and has said France needs to show them a better welcome.
While activists have welcomed this fresh political will to tackle a long-standing problem, they stress that France has been slow to react to a crisis that has grown in intensity over the last two years.
It has lagged other countries, Germany in particular, in providing appropriate lodgings for refugees to seek safety.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has announced the city's first government refugee camp, which will have an initial capacity for 400 men. It is set to open this month in a disused railway yard in the north of the capital.Last Mod: 04 Kasım 2016, 12:39