Riot police swoop on migrant camp near Stalingrad metro station in Paris

Officials say the numbers living and sleeping rough in the area have swollen by about a third since the evacuation of the Jungle.

French riot police have swooped on an illegal migrant camp in northeastern Paris that has swollen since the closure of the Calais Jungle camp. Police officers conducted identity checks on some of the estimated 2,500 migrants and refugees sleeping rough around a canal and bridge near the Stalingrad metro station.

A man faces French anti-riot policemen near the Jaurès and Stalingrad metro stationsLionel Bonaventure/AFP
Migrants and refugees talk to police officers during an operation aiming at evacuating one of the campsLionel Bonaventure/AFP

Some of the camp's occupants shouted at police in riot gear as a digger swept debris and rubbish away in a small section of the camp, which was otherwise left largely intact. A policeman sprayed one man with tear gas. Police then allowed people to move back in.

Tension has risen in tandem with speculation that police will move in to evacuate and close the camp definitively in the coming days, as Paris authorities are demanding. In a letter sent to Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo requested that the camp be shut rapidly on humanitarian and sanitary grounds. President Francois Hollande said the Paris camp will be evacuated soon.

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Tents are seen at a makeshift camp under the elevated Jaurès metro station in ParisCharles Platiau/Reuters
A man stands over the Canal Saint-Martin, near the Jaurès and Stalingrad metro stations, in northern ParisLionel Bonaventure/AFP
French riot policemen restrain migrants on a street in ParisLionel Bonaventure/AFP
A policeman walks among tents in a migrant camp near Jaurès metro stationLionel Bonaventure/AFP
A man holds a matress at a makeshift camp on the Boulevard de la VilletteLionel Bonaventure/AFP
Migrants carry their belongings at a makeshift camp at the Boulevard de la Villette, near the Jaurès and Stalingrad metro stations in northern ParisLionel Bonaventure/AFP
A man lies in a tent on a street in ParisJoel Saget/AFP
A tent for children in the shape of a tower is pictured at a makeshift migrant camp near the Stalingrad metro station in ParisJoel Saget/AFP
Migrants drink water at a makeshift camp near the Stalingrad metro station in ParisJoel Saget/AFP
Migrants and refugees attend a French lesson near their makeshift camp in ParisCharles Platiau/Reuters
Migrants read a French language book on a street in ParisJoel Saget/AFP
A placard reading 'France, a welcoming country?' is seen near a makeshift camp in ParisJoel Saget/AFP

Most of the camp's occupants come from war-torn countries such as Afghanistan. Aid groups say some of the recent arrivals had fled the Jungle camp in Calais, though Hollande said most had come from Libya. City Hall officials say the numbers living and sleeping rough in the area have swollen by about a third since the evacuation of the Jungle, where more than 6,000 people were living, most of them in the hope of making it across the Channel to Britain.

French President Francois Hollande has urged Britain to shoulder its part of the responsibility for 1,500 minors who have been housed temporarily in container boxes in Calais following the clear-out. The rest of the 6,000-plus inhabitants of the Jungle have been dispatched to centres across France, pending examination of their asylum cases.

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