French police evacuate refugees from Paris school

French police clash with protesters while trying to evacuate refugees and migrants from Paris school that is under renovation.

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

French CRS riot police secure a position as clouds of tear gas fill the Place de la Nation during clashes with youths who protest against the French labour law proposal during the May Day labour union march in Paris, France, May 1, 2016.

French police dispersed protesters by using tear gas on Wednesday while evacuating a high school in Paris that has been used by refugees and migrants for two weeks.

Early that morning, protesters had formed a human chain around the high school under renovation to prevent police entering and pelted the police with objects, chanting “everyone hates the police.”

Masked youths face off with French police during a demonstration against the French labour law proposal in Paris, France, as part of a nationwide labour reform protests and strikes, April 28, 2016.

Police entered the school by forcing their way in through another door where tables and chairs were piled up to try to block their passage.

"This morning the police gassed us and pushed us out of the way. At midnight we built a barrier of tables and chairs, but they moved it all out of the way," said Emmanuel, a Ghanaian in his 20s who left the school when the police entered.

"It's better here than being on the street," he said. "I don't know where they want to take us."

The refugees and migrants who are mainly from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia and Yemen settled into a part of the school building, which is currently closed for renovation works, on April 21-22.

Clementine Verschave, from a charity which helps refugees and migrants, said: "There are a lot of women among the migrants in the school, including two who are pregnant."

Eric Coquerel, from the far-left Left Party who was among the demonstrators, said the police had used "unjustified force".

"This school is empty and has no purpose. These people are better off here than on the road," he said.

The evacuation of the school was the second time this week that authorities in Paris have taken action against refugees and migrants.

On Monday, riot police evacuated a makeshift camp set up around a metro station and took 1,600 refugees and migrants to an accommodation centre.

TRTWorld and agencies