Migrants camp out in Paris in protest against living conditions

French police condemn mass gathering as Covid-19 cases surge

Hundreds of people camped out in a square in Paris on Thursday to protest against living conditions for migrants and asylum seekers.

The Place de la Republique was full of tents shortly before the night-time curfew started in the French capital.

Asylum seekers, charity workers and French families were calling for authorities to provide decent housing for migrants.

Utopia 56, a refugee charity, said the tents would stay in place until all the homeless people at the square were given shelter.

“What we are asking once more is that people are put in a safe place,” Utopia 56 member Nikolai Posner said. “We will stay here until this happens.”

Mamoutou Ouattara, 32, a migrant from Ivory Coast, said he needed a stable housing situation so his daughter would not miss out on her education.

“I was sleeping in a squat previously and now I am here with my wife and daughter. In the squat there were many of us and my daughter wasn’t able to go to school,” he said.

Fatoumata Traore, 34, a migrant also from Ivory Coast, said she has never had a stable place in which to live and, with her husband and daughter, has been homeless for three months.

“We live in the streets,” she said.

Paris police said there was plenty of accommodation in the French capital for the migrants.

A spokesman said the gathering was “totally irresponsible” while coronavirus cases surge in France, especially in the Paris region.

Migrants set up tents on the Place de la Republique square for the start of a "Night of Solidarity" organised by the Collectif Requisitions to draw attention to their living conditions and to demand accommodation in Paris, France, March 25, 2021. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier