More than 2,700 migrants removed from 'illegal camps' in Paris

By Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Hilary McGann and Matou Diop

(CNN) -- More than 2,700 migrants and refugees were removed from illegal roadside camps in northern Paris on Friday.

With the nearby newly-established refugee aid center in Porte de la Chapelle at capacity, hundreds of displaced people had established makeshift sleeping arrangements below bridges, on nearby pavements and other thoroughfares.

As day broke on Friday, authorities and riot police were seen arriving in white vans to remove the migrants and take them to temporary shelters in and around Paris.

Paris City Hall official Dominique Versini told CNews TV that an estimated 100 people -- many from the Middle East and eastern Africa -- were arriving in the area each day, according to Reuters.

Versini said that the area had seen up to 2,500 migrants move to the vicinity recently.

The "illegal camps" present "significant risks for the safety and health of their occupants and for local residents," Paris police said in a statement.

The evacuation appeared to be peaceful. The Ile de France prefecture said in a statement that 2,771 migrants and refugees were moved to temporary shelters, where they have been able to receive social and medical assistance.

The prefecture characterized 161 of those relocated on Friday as vulnerable individuals including "single foreign minors and women."

More than 30 migrant relocation operations have been carried in Paris since June 2015, resulting in roughly 27,000 offers of shelter, the statement added.

The number of migrants sleeping rough in the French capital has increased since the closure of the "Jungle" camp in the city of Calais in October last year. The site was demolished by authorities in an effort to halt the flow of migrants trying to cross into the UK through the Eurotunnel.

Many aid groups working in France have criticized the treatment of refugees and migrants by authorities in recent months.

Reuters also reported that French President Emmanuel Macron told parliament this week that he wants to overhaul the country's asylum procedures and accelerate processing times.


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