French police on Friday evicted thousands of migrants living on sidewalks in an area of northern Paris as dawn broke. Many of them had fled war or strife in countries as far away as Sudan, Eritrea, and Afghanistan.
Dozens of police and white police vans moved in at around 5 a.m. (0300 GMT) to clear the area where Paris City Hall official Dominique Versini said numbers have swollen to between 2,000 and 2,500 people.
About 100 a day were arriving in the area called the Porte de la Chapelle in the north of Paris, she told CNews TV station, noting many came from Eastern Africa as well as the Middle East.
The migrants were being escorted onto buses to be taken to temporary lodgings such as gymnasium buildings in Paris and areas ringing the capital.
Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said earlier this week the situation was getting out of hand with more than 400 arrivals a week in the area.
He has been asked by President Emmanuel Macron to produce a plan to accelerate processing of asylum requests with a view to deciding within six months who will be granted refugee status and who gets sent back.
The camp in Paris has swollen despite the creation of two new centres by Paris City Hall to register and temporarily house migrants arriving in the city.
Local authorities have also reported a rise in recent weeks in the number of migrants roaming the streets of the northern port city of Calais, where a illegal sprawling camp was razed to the ground last November and its inhabitants dispatched to other parts of France.
Calais, from which migrants hope to reach Britain, has come to symbolise Europe’s difficulty in dealing with a record influx of men, women and children who have fled their native countries.