The police began evacuating the Grande-Synthe migrant camp in the north. Nearly a thousand people lived there, in and around a gymnasium made available by the city. According to AFP journalists on the spot, the operation began Tuesday morning, shortly after 8am and has been quiet since. The first groups, composed of young men, are mounted with their belongings in three buses. Families should follow. All must be taken to different reception centers in the Hauts-de-France region.
A decision "in the interest of refugees" according to the mayor
The socialist mayor of the city, present on the spot, and the prefect, welcomed this evacuation. For Martial Beyaert, who succeeded Damien Carême in July as an environmentalist MEP, it is a decision "taken in charge and in the interest of refugees". The sub-prefect of Dunkirk, he had previously felt that "for the human dignity and tranquility of residents, this situation can not continue."
This gymnasium was made available to migrants, mainly Iraqi Kurds, by former mayor Damien Carême in December 2018. Initially, the camp was to remain open until spring. At the beginning of August, about 170 people were accommodated inside the sports hall while 800 other migrants survived in some 550 tents nearby. At the beginning of the summer, on the orders of the Council of State, the prefecture of the North had installed water points, showers and toilets nearby, but in insufficient number according to the associations.
During the winter of 2017, the city of Grande-Synthe also opened this gym to welcome exiles. The 400 migrants who lived there had also been evacuated.