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Police clear 1800 migrants from camp in north of France

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People leave a migrant camp as they are evicted by French authorities near the French port city of Dunkirk, at Grande-Synthe, northern France, on 6 September, 2018. Philippe Huguen/AFP

The police have cleared a makeshift camp of 1,800 migrants settled in shelters in Grande-Synthe, near Dunkirk, in the north of France, according to police in the area.


"An operation to shelter 1,800 migrants based in Grande-Synthe is underway since 08:00 this morning” a police spokesperson said in a statement, adding that it is part of an eviction order issued by the Dunkerque court on 11th of October at the request of the town hall.

The security forces intervened around the Puythouck woods, where hundreds of migrants, mainly Iraqi Kurds, are located.

In a message on Twitter, the Migrants' Hostel, an association that helps migrants, said there were “many” police and gendarmerie vehicles, as well as riot police and "30 to 40 buses.

The new Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner, is expected to visit the area at the end of the afternoon. A press briefing is planned after his site visit.

This evacuation comes after two similar operations in September, where about 500 people were taken in charge on each occasion.

Grande-Synthe has become a rallying point for migrants looking for a gateway to Britain since the dismantling in 2016 of the "jungle" of Calais. "

Aid associations have noted an increase in the number of migrants present in the Dunkirk region since the end of the summer as well as the return of migrants who had previously been moved from the region.

This operation had two objectives, according to police: "On the one hand, to provide migrant people with living conditions that are dignified and respectful of fundamental rights, and on the other hand, to stop human trafficking in these camps where smugglers are active.