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  • Police officers stand in the makeshift camp under a railway bridge in northern Paris.

    Police officers stand in the makeshift camp under a railway bridge in northern Paris. | Photo: AFP

Published 2 June 2015

French authorities clear hundreds of migrants out of their makeshift resting spots in Paris and Calais.

French authorities cleared hundreds of migrants from two camps Tuesday, one in the northern city of Calais and the other under a subway bridge in Paris.

In Paris, police launched a raid at dawn and cleared more than 350 refugees from beneath the raised metro tracks near Gare du Nord station, where migrants have been living in tents. Most of them were reportedly from Sudan, but also Eritrea, Somalia and Egypt.

Over the weekend, authorities had put up signs ordering the migrants to leave the camp within 48 hours. With nowhere to go, the migrants stayed. Early Tuesday morning, police then blocked off traffic and surrounded the site, forcing them out.

The refugees, most of whom were single men but also families, were put on buses and were to be taken to different refugee camps on the outskirts of Paris.

Migrant camps sprung up under the Paris metro tracks in 2014, serving as a makeshift shelter for the large number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean in search of a better life in Europe. The camp has since swelled as the numbers of migrants making the journey has increased.

Thousands of migrants have attempted the dangerous sea journey, most of whom are fleeing situations of war, violence or poverty in some Middle East and African countries. They are often exploited by traffickers, and crammed onto small, rickety boats that unfit for the sea crossing, while many end up losing their lives at sea.

Police also evicted hundreds of migrants from two other makeshift camps in the Northern city of Calais Tuesday.

According to media reports, evictions in both cities were without violent resistance.

Tensions at migration camps in Calais have reportedly been increasing, seeing occasional violent outburst.

According to AFP, a large brawl broke out Monday morning between hundreds of migrants at a makeshift camp that has been dubbed “the new jungle.” It is unclear what caused the conflict, but tents were set ablaze, iron bars used and 24 people were injured, according to AFP.

Some 2,500 migrants have been living at the camp, some of whom were using it as a stop off point before traveling to the United Kingdom or Scandinavia.

The raids come as European governments are debating how to handle the migrant crisis, which has so far resulted in increasing military action against trafficking boats carrying migrants.

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