Migrant battles on the streets of Paris: Riot police clash with Afghans and Eritreans as they clear up camps in French capital following Calais Jungle closure
- Police in Paris have began smashing up an illegal camp set up by migrants close to the Eurostar terminal
- Scuffles broke out as Afghans and Eritreans tried to save their possessions as riot police moved in the camp
- Around 3,000 migrants arrived in the French capital following the demolition of the Jungle camp in Calais
- Many are still intent on reaching the UK and refused to go resettlement centres after the Jungle closed
Demolition workers supported by riot police today began smashing up an illegal camp full of UK-bound migrants in Paris.
There were scuffles as mainly Afghans and Eritreans tried to save their possessions during the raid, which started soon after 8am.
It followed thousands of migrants arriving in the French capital following the razing of the Calais Jungle refugee camp last week.
While some 5,000 Jungle residents agreed to be bused to resettlement centres around France, many others headed off independently, saying they still wanted to get to Britain.
Up to 3,000 set up tents on the pavements around the Stalingrad Metro station, which is close to the Gare du Nord Eurostar hub in the north of Paris.
Shortly before today’s clearance French president Francois Hollande said: ‘We won’t tolerate the camps any longer.’
Referring to the Paris clearance, Mr Hollande said: ‘We are going to carry out the same operation as in Calais.’
CRS riot police around Stalingrad said there would be a ‘gradual operation’ which is likely to go on all week until all the camps are gone.
Meanwhile, the first ever official centre for refugees in Paris is due to be opened by the city’s Socialist council later this week.
The £6million facility is also close to the Eurostar hub, and will have beds for 400 men.
But local residents and business owners say it will attract people smugglers, and other criminals.
Jean Brossard, who has been living in the area for 30 years, said: ‘None of us asked for an immigrant centre on our doorsteps.
‘Everybody in the area is complaining. If these men want to go to England, then send them to England.’
Others have accused the Socialists of tokenism, saying they are simply opening the camps as a humanitarian gesture that will have no long term effect on Europe’s immigrant crisis.
The official centre, which will include a football pitch, will only allow residents to stay for between five and 10 weeks, and is likely to shut down within two years.
Another centre for women with children will also open in the Paris suburb of Ivry-sur-Seine later this year, or early next, but it too will only have a limited capacity of 350 temporary places.