French police have begun a vast operation to check the “administrative status” of hundreds of migrants amassed in a makeshift camp in northeastern Paris, days after thousands of people were moved from a larger camp in Calais.
Officers backed by riot police converged Monday morning on the streets around Stalingrad subway station, where an estimated 2,000 people are gathered on the pavements.
Police were seen carrying out checks on the migrants, possibly in preparation for a future evacuation of the site.
Pictures tweeted by FRANCE 24’s Charlotte Boitiaux highlighted the camp’s dire sanitary conditions.
Migrant camps routinely sprout up in Paris, are cleared out, and then sprout up again. Paris regional authorities say 19,000 migrants have been shifted to temporary housing since June 2015.
The makeshift camps have become visible symbols of the country’s struggle to accommodate migrants and refugees seeking better lives in Europe.
On Saturday, President François Hollande vowed to shut down the bulging new camp in Paris, saying such encampments were “not worthy” of France.
He played down concerns that the closure of the so-called Calais “Jungle” last week had driven its residents to the sidewalks of Paris.
Most migrants recently amassing around the station are part of a “new migratory current coming from Libya these last weeks and months”, Hollande said.
Hollande insisted that France would shelter asylum-seekers and deport those without the right to asylum. The migrants in Calais and Paris include war refugees, as well as people fleeing poverty and seeking jobs.
Hollande said 5,000 migrants were evacuated from the Calais camp last week and transferred to some 450 reception centres around France. He met Saturday with migrants taken to a centre in Doué-la-Fontaine in western France.
About 1,500 underage migrants remain in Calais in a special shelter, and Hollande urged British authorities to “do their part” to settle them in Britain.
Anti-immigrant sentiment in both Britain and France has complicated efforts to address the long-running migrant drama.
FRANCE 24 with AP