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Migrant camp in Paris Migrant camp in Paris  (AFP or licensors)

Paris police violently dismantles migrant camp

Amid a mounting public outcry, France's interior minister on Tuesday ordered an internal police investigation into police violence against migrants fleeing war, persecution, and poverty. His announcement came after security forces were filmed tossing migrants out of tents while evacuating a Paris camp. The overnight clashes erupted ahead of a crucial vote on filming security forces that critics say could limit press freedom.

By Stefan J. Bos  

Police dismantled the makeshift migrant camp in the heart of the French capital. Security forces clashed with desperate migrants and activists. Police later spread tear gas while chasing people through the streets. And riot police use batons to hit some of them.

The homeless migrants made clear they are now forced to live on the streets. "We don't have any place to live. We don't have any place to sleep," a migrant said. "And it is necessary for us in this weather. The winter is coming, it is getting cold, and we need somewhere to sleep," he added.    

Volunteers had joined them. Linking arms, the crowd -
several hundred strong - could be heard chanting "papers for all, accommodation for all!" when police moved in.

As the evacuation began, there was a nationwide outcry. Even Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin described some images of the evacuation filmed by journalists and activists as "shocking." He ordered an internal police investigation into what he called "certain incidents."
The minister promised to make the results public.

Aid groups and the government are trying to find temporary lodging for migrants forcibly removed from the short-lived camp on the Place de la Republique in eastern Paris. But it won't be easy.

SECURITY BILL

The violence came ahead of a vote in the French parliament on Tuesday on a controversial security bill. Opponents say it could undermine

the media's ability to investigate police behavior.

France has seen massive demonstrations this year against police brutality and alleged racism.

Article 24 of the security legislation would make it a criminal offense to post images of police or soldiers on social media, which are deemed to target them as individuals.

If the law is adopted, violators could face one year in prison and a 45,000 euro fine.

24 November 2020, 15:53