A camp set up by migrants in protest in central Paris

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Irregular migrants, mostly Africans and Afghans, set up a camp in the French capital, Paris, to protest their poor living conditions, and demanded that the authorities find “emergency shelter” for them.

In front of the Paris city hall, 300 irregular migrants, including unaccompanied minors, set up tents on Thursday.

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Relief associations allocated it to them, asking officials to solve their problem and provide them with temporary shelter, and they also demanded the provision of permanent housing.

Afghan Ali said he left his country two years ago with his wife in search of a better life for his family.

He added that he arrived in France after crossing Iranian, Turkish, Greek, and Italian lands, indicating that when he arrived in Turkey, he applied for residency on its lands, but his request was rejected.

He explained that after his application was rejected in Turkey, he entered Greek territory illegally.

Noting that he was also disappointed there when he was informed that he had not been given a date to apply for residency before 2024.

“We faced a lot of difficulties in Greece, and we had many problems that we could not stand,” Ali said.

So we decided to leave Greece and went to Italy, then we arrived in France,” stressing that the French authorities, in turn, did not care about his condition and the condition of his wife.

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In turn, his wife, Mahtab, said that she can’t return to her country after this moment.

She added that when she decided to accompany her husband on the way to emigrate to Europe, she believed that Europe enjoyed an ancient civilization and that she would find a better life worthy of human dignity in it.

She added that her trip was the opposite of her expectations and hopes, especially when she entered the Greek lands, where she faced great difficulties and challenges.

“We used to live in the dirt (in Greece) inside makeshift tents, and since we came to France about 10 days ago, we have been staying in tents as well,” she added.

For her part, Miele de Marcellus, director of the association “Utopia 56”, which is concerned with helping migrants and refugees, said that the association has been providing aid to those in need since 2016.

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She explained that some families temporarily opened their homes to immigrants, stressing that this “does not constitute a solution” to the problem of unaccompanied minors and immigrants.

Marcellus stressed that the state must provide shelter for those people who were left in the middle of the road, indicating that the state is not fulfilling its duty towards them.

She emphasized that many immigrants are asking the association to help them, noting that the association is trying to help according to its limited capabilities.

Marcellus said that unless shelter is provided to these people, they should set up tents in similar places, expressing gratitude that the police forces have not intervened to dismantle the migrant tents yet.

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For her part, Esperance Minar, president of the “TIMMY” association concerned with helping unaccompanied migrant children, said that the responsibility to protect these children rests with the province.

She added that the French authorities refuse the requests of 7 out of 10 unaccompanied migrant children after interviewing them a few days after their arrival in Paris, leaving them to their fate on the streets.

In this context, Menard called on the French concerned to protect unaccompanied migrant children and to integrate them as required by their responsibilities.

On the night of November 24, 2020, the Paris police, using tear gas, expelled nearly 500 asylum seekers, mostly Afghans, after they set up tents in Place de la République.

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Meanwhile, the Ministry of the Interior opened an investigation into the publication of scenes and photos showing the use of violence by the French police and gendarmerie during their intervention and the dispersal of migrants, including journalists.

At the time, many journalists, activists, and politicians expressed their support for the refugees and condemned police violence.