Migrants and homeless moved out of Paris ahead of Olympics — RT World News

Authorities say the transfers are not related to the Games, claiming that emergency accommodation centers have reached the point of saturation

At least 500 migrants and displaced people have been moved from the capital to rural areas and small towns in France, as Paris prepares to host the 2024 Summer Olympics in July and August. Humanitarian activists and some local authorities view the move as an attempt to hide displaced people ahead of the event.

Some regional mayors have expressed concerns about new arrivals to their areas. Serge Grouard, mayor of the city of Orleans in central France, which has a population of about 100,000, confirmed to reporters on Monday that there are rumors that the move aims to… “Cleaning the deck” In the capital before the Olympics.

Grouard said up to 500 homeless migrants arrived in the city without his prior knowledge. “I'm not sure, but it's clearly a disturbing coincidence.” he added. He explained that new arrivals are offered a three-week stay in a hotel at state expense, but are then left to fend for themselves. The deputy mayor of Strasbourg, Florian Farreras, told Agence France-Presse that she is facing similar problems, describing the situation as… “Vague.”

Some humanitarian activists have also linked the move to the upcoming Summer Olympics, claiming that the government has launched a campaign to make the French capital “More elegant.” “If the idea is just to hide misery and homelessness and clear the air before the Olympics, then it really doesn’t work on a humanitarian level.” Paul El-Lozi of the NGO Doctors of the World told Euronews.

The state's regional security office confirmed on Tuesday that the recent relocations were a result of emergency accommodation centers reaching saturation, adding that the measure had nothing to do with the Olympics.

Some of the people transferred also confirmed to Euronews that they had been advised to change areas, citing overcrowding as a reason.

France received 167,000 asylum applications in 2023, the second highest number in the European Union, most of them from migrants from Africa, South Asia and the Middle East.

As demand for short-term emergency accommodation far exceeds supply, temporary camps regularly appear around the capital and are raided and dismantled by police.

France would not be the first Olympic host country to reportedly resort to this type of measure. In 2008, the Beijing Olympics clean-up campaign saw hundreds of beggars and homeless people removed from the streets, with many returned to their areas of origin. Homeless people in Rio de Janeiro were forced to move out of tourist areas when Brazil hosted the Olympics in 2016.

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