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.
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.
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.