Police use tear gas as they dismantle a new migrant camp in the centre of Paris

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin promises inquiry into shocking scenes

Police use tear gas as they dismantle a new migrant camp in the centre of Paris

Police use tear gas as they dismantle a new migrant camp in the centre of Paris
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French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has ordered an inquiry after police officers fired tear gas at migrants to evict them from a camp built in the heart of the French capital’s government and tourism districts on Monday.

"Some of the images of the dispersion of the illegal migrant camp at Place de la République are shocking," Darmanin wrote on Twitter in the early hours of Tuesday.

Migrant rights groups have criticised the violent removal of the camp in Place de la Republique, just metres from landmarks such as the Louvre and the president's Elysee Palace.
Last week, police evicted migrants from an illegal camp in northern Paris, with the promise to those removed that they would be placed in suitable accommodation.

The migrants who built the camp in Paris said it was set up to house hundreds of refugees who were evicted from makeshift shelters in the suburbs without being relocated.

About an hour after it was built, the site, a short walk from Notre Dame cathedral and the River Seine, came under attack from police.
"It was a very violent dispersion", said Kerill Theurillat, co-ordinator of the Utopia 56 group that helped to build the camp. "We saw incredible scenes, of the police officers raising tents with people inside and literally throwing them out."
"The only response from the authorities is force. And force, in times of a health crisis, this is not acceptable," said Corinne Torre, head of Medecins sans Frontieres in France.

Police used tear gas to disperse the migrants, driving about 500 people from the camp out into the streets of central Paris.

"They are too violent," said Shahbuddin, an Afghan migrant. "We just want a roof."

Ian Brossart, a deputy of the city's mayor in charge of housing, emergency accommodation and refugee protection, condemned the "law and order response to a social situation".

Mr Darmanin said he has received a report from Paris police chief Didier Lallement confirming "several unacceptable facts". He also wants the National Police Inspectorate General (IGPN) to report within 24 hours.
Policing at the camp site was "scandalous and astounding," said Laurent Berger, from the CFDT trade union.
"People occupy a square peacefully with tents, simply because they have a housing problem, they are not harming anyone. And there is this intervention which is totally disproportionate," he added.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo wrote a letter to Mr Darmanin denouncing the "brutal and disproportionate use of force" by the security forces, which she said was "unfortunately not without precedent" in the city.

The ministers for citizenship and housing, Marlene Schiappa and Emmanuelle Wargon, issued a joint statement saying migrants must be treated with "humanity and solidarity".

Paris Councillor Danielle Simonnet said police and the government had made the wrong decision.
"We need to find shelter for all of those who are sleeping rough," she said, but instead the government chose to deploy the police to forcefully remove one tent after another.
"It's a disgrace. It's a disgrace because it's not complicated for this government to guarantee dignified shelters to all. It's a humanitarian and sanitary emergency."

Encampments regularly sprout up around the city only to be torn down by the police.

Paris is a prime stop-off point on the European migrant route, with tented camps repeatedly sprouting up around the city, often only to be torn down by the police.

Thousands have travelled north from Paris to the port of Calais and attempted to stow away on lorries heading across the Channel to England. A smaller number attempt the crossing by boat.