Amid growing anti-migrant sentiments in the country, Parisians threatens to go on hunger strike on Jan. 1 unless authorities remove the squalid migrant camps. They also demanded the relocation of a center that processes asylum requests.
The migrants, mainly males of sub-Saharan African and Afghan origin, had been living under the bridge of Porte de la Chapelle for several months. They had been expelled in the past for illegal squatting and littering, but almost always ended up returning, seemingly for protection from the elements. After the demolition of the Calais "Jungle" in 2016, several migrant camps have sprung up throughout Paris, including at the Stalingrad metro station.
Pierre Henry, head of the Terre d'Asile charity, acknowledged that "the situation in the streets is disgraceful," holding police responsible for maintaining order, as reported by the British newspaper The Independent.
Alexandra Cordebard, the district mayor, said: "We cannot be expected to tolerate the establishment of shantytowns or slums in Paris."
French police have carried out operations to clear migrants sleeping in the streets of the 10th arrondissement in northern Paris over the past two years. So far, there seems to be no conclusive answer to the back and forth situation going on between the police and the migrants. Over 85,000 people applied for asylum in France in 2016, the Asylum Information Database reported. Many travel to France from the Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan in hopes of better lives in the European Union, but their applications are often rejected.