French authorities accused of ‘social cleansing’ of migrants and homeless before Paris Olympics

In the run-up to the Paris Olympic Games, human rights activists have alleged that authorities are engaged in "social cleansing", a government policy of removing the homeless from the city, which the authorities deny. But a number of non-profits have presented evidence documenting the methods used by the authorities to “manage” the most vulnerable populations in the Paris region both before and during the Games. FRANCE 24 investigates.

Just a day after the ceremonial lighting of the Paris 2024 Olympic flame in Greece on April 16, accompanied by oaths to friendship and solidarity, French authorities began evicting hundreds of migrants from France's largest squat in Vitry-sur-Seine, south of Paris. Those evicted were encouraged to board buses that would take them to other parts of France.

It was the third major eviction operation carried out in the Île-de-France region, comprising Paris and its surrounding areas, since the start of 2023. In April 2023, some 400 people were removed from a squat located near the Olympic Village on Île-Saint-Denis in the capital's northern suburbs. Two hundred more were evicted in July 2023 from a squat in Thiais south of Paris.

These evictions, among other operations seen as targeting the homeless, quickly caught the attention of the associations tasked with helping those in vulnerable situations.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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