Hollande vows to rid Paris of refugee camps
French President Francois Hollande has vowed to shut down a bulging refugee camp in Paris, after his government moved 5000 people from a camp in Calais in an effort to tackle the refugee crisis.
The makeshift camps in Calais on the English Channel and in the French capital have become visible symbols of the country's struggle to accommodate asylum seekers and refugees seeking better lives in Europe.
Hollande also urged Britain to do more to help underage asylum seekers in Calais, a port city that has long been a magnet for desperate travellers from the Mideast and Africa seeking to reach British shores.
"We cannot tolerate camps," Hollande said on Saturday, calling the street encampments "not worthy" of France, "we will evacuate the camps in Paris, because it cannot be a long-lasting solution."
He down played concerns that the closure of the Calais camp this week has driven its residents to the sidewalks of Paris, notably near the Stalingrad subway station.
Most refugees recently amassing around the station are part of a "new migratory current coming from Libya these last weeks and months," Hollande said.
Refugee camps routinely sprout up in Paris, are cleared out, and then sprout up again. Paris regional authorities say 19,000 asylum seekers have been shifted to temporary housing since June 2015.
Hollande insisted that France would shelter asylum-seekers and deport those without the right to asylum. The people in Calais and Paris include war refugees, as well as people fleeing poverty and seeking jobs.
Hollande said 5000 asylum seekers were evacuated from the Calais camp this week and transferred to some 450 reception centres around France.
About 1500 underage refugees remain in Calais in a special shelter, and Hollande urged British authorities to "do their part" to settle them in Britain.
Source: National News Agency.