French charities decry 'social cleansing' of migrants, sex workers ahead of Paris Olympics

A collective of French charities that has been a persistent critic of the Paris Olympics accused organisers on Monday of carrying out a "year of social cleansing" of the capital ahead of the start of the Games.

A new report by "The Other Side of the Medal" group, which brings together 80 different charities, said Paris was following a playbook used by other Olympic host cities by cracking down on migrants, squatters, the homeless and sex workers.

"We hoped that this edition would be different from previous ones and we made suggestions over a long period in this regard," the report said. "Today... we can state that Paris 2024 will be no different from previous editions and will truly accelerate the exclusion of the most vulnerable."

The report looked in particular at actions by the French police to clear squats, as well as migrant camps and the homeless from Paris streets ahead of the Olympics which run from July 26-August 11.

It said there had been 26 operations to clear migrant camps so far in 2024, "almost the same as for the whole of the year 2022 (when there were 30)."

Since April last year, a total of 10 squats used by migrants, including a former factory close to the Olympic village, had been cleared, affecting 1,967 people.

The report took aim at statements by French ministers and police chiefs that the crackdown was not connected with the Olympics.

"This argument was weak before and today it is totally unconvincing," the report concluded.

(AFP)


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