Police clear more than 2,000 people from makeshift migrant camp near Paris

French police forcibly evacuated more than 2,000 migrants from a makeshift camp in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis near the Stade de France in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The dismantling of the migrant camp was denounced by human rights associations as part of an "endless and destructive cycle".

The forced evacuations will see the migrants moved to various reception centres and sometimes gymnasiums in the Île-de-France (greater Paris) region. From around 4:30am local time, migrants began queueing to board buses along with their belongings. According to the organisation France Terre Asile, about 2,400 migrants were living in the camp, which has been expanding since August.

"These camps are not acceptable," declared the Paris police prefect, Didier Lallement, at a press briefing. "This operation aims to ensure that people with the right to be here are given shelter and those who do not have that right do not remain on French territory."

In all, 70 buses were used to transport migrants to 26 accommodation centres.

The situation of migrants has been further complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic. In early October, Médecins sans frontières published a survey on exposure levels among the most vulnerable. Of more than 800 people tested by the NGO at different centres around Île-de-France, 10 emergency accommodation centres had a Covid-19 positive rate of between 23 and 62 percent.

In a press release published Tuesday, around 30 migrant advocate organisations signed an open letter denouncing the "endless and destructive cycle" of forced evacuations.

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