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Published: Tue, November 01, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

French president vows to clear Paris streets of migrant camp


There was tension this week between the two countries over how to take care of young migrants after bulldozers flattened the camp that had been home to over 6,000 refugees and migrants hoping to cross the Channel to Britain.

There are some 2,000-2,500 sleeping in tents in the northeast Paris camps, up from around 1,500 before Calais started being dismantled, a local official told Reuters on Friday, adding that some came from the "Jungle" and others from other areas.

On Monday, French authorities started to dismantle Calais camp, beginning with the relocation of migrants to other facilities across the country with some minors due to be sent to the United Kingdom.

"We can not tolerate camps", Mr Hollande said, calling them "not worthy" of France.

Calais is a magnet for migrants from the Mideast and Africa seeking to reach Britain, and its camp was a symbol of Europe's migrant crisis. "We will evacuate the Paris camps".

Most migrants recently amassing around the station are part of a "new migratory current coming from Libya these last weeks and months", Hollande said. "People came yesterday and the day before from Calais".

Mr Hollande also backed calls made by 100 French MPs in an open letter to Britain's home secretary Amber Rudd for the United Kingdom to take in 1,500 unaccompanied minors now staying at a temporary reception centre in Calais.

BBC Paris correspondent Hugh Schofield says that tents and makeshift shelters have become a familiar sight near the Stalingrad and Jean Jaures metro stations.

French officials say the number of refugees sleeping on the streets of Paris has risen by at least a third since the camp in Calais known as the "Jungle", was demolished earlier this week.

Numerous children have family members living in the United Kingdom, it points out, so the letter said they "are not asking any favours; they have the right, in line with current global regulations and British law, to go to Britain". He said he spoke Friday to British Prime Minister Theresa May about the issue.

"It's not a huge explosion in numbers but there is a clear increase".

Anti-immigrant sentiment in Britain and France has complicated efforts to address the long-running Calais migrant drama.

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