French police cleared an illegal refugee camp in the capital Paris on Wednesday, amid the government's latest attempt to deal with a migrant influx France has been facing for the past three years.
At the Millenaire camp northeast of Paris, riot police flanked migrants as they boarded buses to temporary housing around the city.
In this respect, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said some 1,000 migrants out of the 1,600 counted on site had been evacuated.
A prefect for the greater Ile-de-France region said other dismantling operations at smaller camps in and around Paris would take place "as soon as possible."
The migrants were being moved out of the camp for general welfare and security reasons, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said in a statement.
"Police services will be fully committed to preventing such camps being built again," Collomb said. The evacuation was the 34th to take place since June 2015, he said.
Europe has faced a migrant crisis since 2015, after years of conflict in the Middle East. More than 1 million people from Africa and the Middle East flooded into the continent.
In France, much of the migrant influx ended up in the northern port of Calais, where a giant slum was cleared by the authorities in late 2016. Most of the rest have gathered in Paris and the southeast near the Franco-Italian border.
Officials and NGOs say 2,700 illegal migrants live in the Paris area. They said the migrants being evacuated would be taken to 24 accommodation centers around Paris, where they would be allowed to file asylum requests.
Under European law, asylum seekers must remain in the first European country they enter. They often have to register with their fingerprints when they arrive.
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron's government said it wants to be both firm and fair on immigration. But it has taken a tougher stance lately, with parliament approving a bill that tightens asylum rules.
As elsewhere in Europe, immigration from Africa and the Middle East has become a major political issue in France, fueling the rise of far-right parties such as the National Front.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team