Hundreds Evicted From France’s Largest Squat Ahead Of Olympics

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migrants evicted from squat

Charities have claimed that French authorities are clearing out homeless people ahead of the Olympic Games which are taking place in Paris this summer

French police have already carried out a large-scale eviction at the country’s biggest squat in Paris. The squat, which had been home to up to 45o migrants, including 20 children and 50 women, was an abandoned bus company headquarters in Vitry-sur-Seine. At least ten children had reportedly attended local schools.

RT reports: Images of the eviction on Wednesday rapidly spread across social media.  

Footage showed officers forcing their way into the camp and examining locked rooms as they oversaw the removal of residents. Makeshift beds and furniture were seen on the floors and in the hallways of the building, along with abandoned personal belongings. Evicted migrants gathered outside with packed suitcases, while others were seen boarding buses.   

Activists have linked the move to the broader effort by Paris authorities to clear out migrants and others sleeping rough in the city before the summer Olympics. They claim the government has launched the campaign to make the French capital “more presentable.”  

“The squat was the biggest in France. It doubled in size in one year because of the Olympics. Last year, authorities cleared out migrants from nearby the Olympic Village, and many displaced people came here,” Paul Alauzy of the NGO Medecins du Monde told the AP.  

Alauzy, who is also a spokesperson for Revers de la Medaille (The Medal’s Other Side), a collective of charities and aid workers, said homeless people and squats have been steadily cleared out for the past year.   

Aid workers have warned that the Olympics are affecting the most vulnerable homeless people in the Paris area as those evicted are not provided with longer-term housing assistance.  

When asked about Wednesday’s evacuation, French Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said “it has nothing to do with the Olympics,” according to the AP.   

Earlier, French authorities claimed that the recent relocations were the result of emergency accommodation centers reaching saturation, claiming that the measure is unrelated to the Games.  

Niamh Harris
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