Paris: Eviction from the Saint-Denis Canal migrant camp

Nearly 1,500 migrants were “sheltered” on Wednesday when they were expelled from the Aubervilliers camp north of Paris. The associations fear the reformation of a camp within a few weeks. They denounce the repeated dismantling without any real solution.

The migrant camp located along the Saint-Denis canal in Aubervilliers, in the north of Paris, was evicted on Wednesday 29 July. As early as 6am, a large police presence squared the area, where nearly 1,500 people were settled.

“This operation is the logical continuation of all the operations we have been carrying out for several months,” Paris police prefect Didier Lallement, who was present at the scene, told reporters. “I wanted to evacuate the camps on the outskirts of Paris and make sure that migrants do not gather in the camps for the entire Paris police force and the three neighbouring departments” he added.

Another expulsion

The associations regret the “opacity” around these “sheltered” areas. “The exiles had no information, they didn’t know where they were being taken,” deplores Kerill Theurillat, coordinator in Paris of Utopia 56, contacted by InfoMigrants. According to the prefecture, the migrants were directed to gymnasiums in the Paris region.

But this umpteenth expulsion hardly convinces the humanitarians. “People are exhausted, for some it’s the tenth expulsion, they know they’re going to end up in gymnasiums and half of them are going to end up on the street tonight,” said Silvana Gaeta of the Solidarity Migrants Wilson collective. It’s always the same with Utopia: “It’s always the same, they’ll stay in the gyms for a few days and then they’ll be back on the streets and we’ll see a camp re-forming before long,” predicts Kerill Theurillat. “Any shelter is useful, but this repetition since 2015 is absurd and unworthy,” Pierre Henry, director of France terre d’asile (France, land of asylum), said on Twitter. “Everything in the Republic begins with dignity. We need to rethink the initial reception system with all those involved,” he continued.

“The state is incapable of welcoming people with dignity.

Comments that Alalisad can only agree with. The 32-year-old Somali is on his fifth eviction since arriving in France in 2015. “I don’t understand, they pick us up, put us in hotels for three months and then we go back on the streets. I don’t understand why the French government wastes so much money putting us in hotels instead of giving us long-term accommodation,” the young man told AFP.

“There’s wear and tear, despair, almost five years this situation has been going on. We’ve already seen this film. The state is incapable of giving a dignified welcome,” said Louis Barda, general coordinator of Médecins du Monde in Paris.

The associations also object to the policy that leads to the “invisibilisation of migrants”. “They are being pushed further and further out of Paris, but no real solution has been found,” says Theurillat.

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Leslie Carretero, InfoMigrants