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Paris: Hundreds of migrants set up tents in capital’s public park – video

Migrant tents in Paris (Photo source: V4 Agency)

By: V4 Agency

More than three hundred Afghan and African migrants have occupied one of the capital’s popular parks in a bid to draw attention to their housing problem. Their action was backed by several pro-migrant NGOs. The mayor of the district, who expects the state to provide a solution, has called for the establishment of a new reception centre.

More than three hundred migrants have flocked to Jardin Villemin, a public park in the 10th district of the French capital, Paris, to highlight their housing problems and demand a solution from local authorities. In France the moratorium on winter evictions has ended, which means hundreds of homeless migrants have nowhere to go in Paris alone. Although the moratorium was supposed to end on 1 April, the government has decided to push back the deadline to 1 June in view of the health crisis, a move that apparently only prolonged the problem.

A large crowd of migrants first gathered at Paris’s Place de le Republique in late May, hoping that the authorities would resolve their housing problems. As the capital’s reception centres were full, police called on protesters to vacate the premises. Many disobeyed, forcing officers to disperse the demonstration using tear gas.

The displaced migrants marched to Jardin Villemin to set up camp in the park with the help of Collectif Requisitions, a pro-migrant NGO. The NGO’s volunteers distributed food among the mosty African and Afghan migrants, who set up tents on the lawn and spent the night in the open.

Upon news of the incident, the district’s Socialist mayor also showed up at the scene. Responding to a journalist’s question, Alexandra Cordebard said it’s the government’s job to find a solution, adding that the municipality is ready to negotiate with state authorities on setting up proper reception centres to accommodate the migrants.

She said the Ile-de-France region near the capital must also contribute to solving the problem, because most of the migrants are currently accommodated in either Paris, or the nearby Seine-Saint-Denis department. In order to free up these areas, Ms Cordebard has urged the establishment of a new, big reception centre in or around Paris, besides La Villette’s existing centre. The leaders of Paris have already submitted several proposals to the prefecture of the Ile-de-France region, but these have so far been rejected, she added.

The problem is still unsolved and hundreds of migrants have been camping outside for days. They are being helped Utopia 56, which provided tents for them. The NGO’s recent tweet suggests that they expect the local prefect to negotiate and resolve the migrants’ housing problem.

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