Saturday July 20 2024

Macron accused of social cleansing and hiding poverty in France

12 May 2024 14:35 (UTC+04:00)
Macron accused of social cleansing and hiding poverty in France


French President Emmanuel Macron has been accused of “social cleansing” and “hiding up poverty” as homeless camps are cleared from Paris ahead of the Olympics.

Azernews reports that this has been published by the Daily Mail.

President Macron has certainly staked his reputation on the success of Paris 2024, the publication writes. The Olympic Games will open only on July 26, but the head of state is already calling them “a moment of beauty, real art, a celebration of sports and our values.” These are the first European Games since London 2012, and Macron wants to wow the world with scale and splendor.

“This is why the operating budget has been set at the equivalent of more than £4 billion, and this figure could be doubled to £8 billion if the cost of new buildings such as the state-of-the-art aquatic center is added... Barges from all participating countries should glide down the River Seine for a glamorous opening ceremony at no expense," the article says.

However, there are still illegal camps scattered along the Seine that spoil the view, so there are now police raids there almost every morning. One of them happened near the city hall in late April, where people from West Africa were mostly sleeping on the sidewalks. The inhabitants of the "dorm" were told that they would be better off in the provinces, and not in Paris. Many of those kicked out of the illegal site near City Hall were put on buses with promises of transport to Besançon, more than 250 miles from the capital.

"The 70-odd tents outside City Hall housed migrants from former French colonies in West Africa who they said were unaccompanied minors with a legal right to housing. They ended up on the streets after officials disputed their claims that they were under 18 years old,” the newspaper notes.

A new report from charity group Le Revers de la Medaille claims evictions are on the rise and will be set to rise even further in the run-up to the Olympics.

"The situation is getting out of control" as "expulsions and police interference in future security perimeters" are increasing, said group spokesman Paul Alauzi.

The report says the Macron administration is acting in the same way as the Chinese authorities, who removed homeless people from the streets of Beijing before the 2008 Games, and the Brazilians before the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

Figures show there were 33 major evictions from camps in the year between March last year and March this year, compared with 19 in the year to March 2023, the document says. It is noted that other French cities involved in the 2024 Olympic Games are being subjected to “social cleansing” aimed at “hiding poverty.” In particular, the slums near the football stadium in Bordeaux, where the Olympic football matches will be held, were cleared at the end of March.

Representatives of the Ville de Paris and the French Ministry of the Interior, in turn, deny that there was any official policy of “social cleansing” or “hiding poverty,” especially for the Olympic Games.

"The police are obliged to close unauthorized camps for reasons of hygiene and safety," a Hôtel de Ville spokesman said.


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