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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Migrants 'Occupy Paris' after Calais camp shuts

Paris, France -- An illegal "Jungle" shanty town in Calais was bulldozed and evacuated by migrants who made their way to gay Paris where they set up camp in the city's streets.

You can see hundreds of tents along the streets and by a canal in the northeastern corner, pitched by the migrants, mostly from Sudan. While migrants are not new to Paris, Colombe Brossel, Paris deputy mayor in charge of security issues is concerned about the inflated number of migrants.

"We have seen a big increase since the start of the week. Last night our teams counted 40 to 50 new tents there in two days," Brossel said. He pointed out that there was now a total of over 700 tents, meaning that there are about 2,00 to 2,500 migrants sleeping in the area, which is an increase of over 1,500 a few days prior, she explained.

"It is not a huge explosion in numbers but there is a clear increase," she said. "Some of them come from Calais, others from other places."

The Calais "Jungle" served as an illegal base camp for migrants trying to make their way to the UK. It was torn down last week and over 6,000 squatters of the jerry-built camp near the English Channel were relocated to shelters around France.

Pascal Brice, France's asylum chief, said the migrants who entered the city did not mean that this indicates a wholesale movement from the Jungle to Paris. "There might be some movements at the margins (toward Paris) but what is crucial is that those 6,000 people have been protected."

Officials said the police checked ID papers and asylum requests then allowed the migrants to return to the central reservation of the avenue median where they had camped out at overnight. They put their tents back up to start another day in the "City of Lights."

"There's a lot of new people here," said Mustafa, 21, a Muslim man from Darfur, in western Sudan.

Officials said the newcomers didn't all come from the Calais camp--others had arrived before the Jungle was bulldozed. 

The city of Paris plans to open two migrant centers with a combined capacity of less than 1,000 beds.