Police operation creates tension in Paris migrant camp

PARIS — Paris police rounded up Afghan migrants Monday and cleared away some of their tents in a makeshift camp as part of French government efforts to tackle the migrant crisis.

Monday’s operation in northeastern Paris was marked by tension and confusion. Riot police physically forced the migrants back and drew a cordon around them, as some migrants yelled and pushed back on riot shields.

Police and regional officials said the operation was aimed at verifying migrants’ documents and sanitary conditions. They insisted it wasn’t a full-scale evacuation, though city officials cleared away some tents along a canal.


President Francois Hollande said Saturday that the Paris camp will be evacuated soon. Such camps frequently surface in Paris, and authorities routinely clear them out and move some migrants to temporary shelter.

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Aid groups say some of the Paris migrants recently fled a camp being dismantled in Calais, though Hollande said most are from recent waves of migration to Europe via Libya.

Shikhali Mirzai, a young man who said he arrived in Paris from Afghanistan five days ago, said he did not understand why the police were trashing their tents.

‘‘Where are these people going to sleep?’’ Mirzai asked. ‘‘It’s very cold. This isn’t a life, it’s an animal’s life.’’

Associated Press