By V4 Agency
An NGO helping refugees has set up a migrant camp consisting of hundreds of tents in one of the capital’s emblematic squares. The NGO’s goal is to secure permanent accommodation for the migrants. The prefect has condemned the move, calling it extremely irresponsible in the current pandemic situation.
Utopia 56, an NGO involved in rescuing migrants, has made its voice heard again. In cooperation with Collectif Requisitions, it set up a migrant camp consisting of 300 tents on Thursday evening, half an hour before the curfew. The camp is at Place de la Republique, one of Paris’s busiest squares, at the foot of the Marianne statue, a key symbol of the French Republic.
The organisation’s members said their aim was to have the authorities provide permanent accommodation for the refugees, some of whom are minors and babies. These people have been living on the streets for months, activists said, adding that – according to their understanding – there are several vacant buildings that could serve as more permanent homes for them.
The prefecture of the capital condemned the stunt. They released a statement, saying they considered the establishment of such a huge camp an utterly irresponsible move in times of a pandemic. They added that both the migrants and their helpers were exposed to an elevated risk of infection.
The authorities finally secured accommodation for some 500 people and bussed them away from the makeshift camp. Utopia 56 welcomed the quick resolution of the situation, and dismantled the camps. Police did not need to intervene.