Paris police clear migrants' camp at La Chapelle bridge

La Chapelle camp under bridge, 2 Jun 15 Image copyright AFP
Image caption African migrants have been living under the bridge for several months

French police are evicting an estimated 360 migrants from a makeshift camp under a Paris railway bridge.

The operation at La Chapelle, near Gare du Nord station, began at dawn.

The migrants - mainly Sudanese and Eritreans - are being moved by bus to migrant shelters in the capital.

Late on Monday a mass brawl broke out between several hundred African migrants living rough in Calais. Tents were set ablaze, iron bars were used, and 24 were injured, officials say.

Fourteen of the injured were admitted to hospital, and police reinforcements later restored order.

The AFP news agency says the clash happened in the so-called "new jungle" - a makeshift camp where 2,000 migrants live, near a reception centre providing hot meals.

The clash reportedly involved Sudanese and Eritreans, who have travelled to Calais hoping to get to the UK.

In Paris, city health officials who visited the camp at La Chapelle earlier reported that it was unhygienic and overcrowded, posing a public health risk.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The migrants' camp lies between Barbes and La Chapelle metro stations in central Paris

The camp was set up several months ago but in February began attracting migrants who had crossed the Mediterranean to Italy.

French media said an estimated 200 of those living there were hoping to travel to the UK or Scandinavia while the rest were seeking asylum in France.

Social affairs minister Marisol Touraine told French radio that the decision to dismantle the camp was taken because of the threat of health epidemic primarily for those living there.

"We clearly have to ensure that each one from the camp is rehoused quickly in good conditions," she said.

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