French Prefecture Defies Court Order To Remove 500 Migrants

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The District Court of Nantes has
released an order to evacuate 500 migrants who have been occupying an abandoned
gymnasium for nine months.  However, the
prefecture of Loire-Atlantique has refused to follow the court ruling. 

The diocese of Nantes, the owner of
the building, decided to go to court after their negotiations with the local
aid group fell through.

“We first tried to negotiate with the
support group, to find relocation solutions. But the situation deteriorated so
much that it pushed us to ask for the evacuation,” explained Xavier Brunier,
delegate of the bishop for solidarity.

The diocese also pointed out that the
sports hall is not suitable for housing people as it was not built for that
purpose. 

When the migrants started occupying
the building, the ceiling was leaking and other fixtures were broken
already.  The number of toilets and
shower rooms are not enough for the number of people living in the building.

The poor living conditions in the
abandoned sports hall have resulted to health deterioration and lack of
security led to frequent brawls.

Despite the situation the prefecture
of Loire-Atlantique refuses to proceed with the evacuation as authorized by the
court.

“The uncontrolled increase in the
population present and the lack of management of the site […] resulted in the
evacuation order and accommodation of such a large number of people being no
longer conceivable and a source of disturbance to the population,” noted the
communication service of the administration.

The gymnasium houses migrants who
mainly come from Guinea, Sudan and Eritrea. Every time an expulsion rumor broke
out in other parts of France, the gym’s resident number rose with the arrival
of new migrants from Paris and Calais who sought refuge.

Many occupants are waiting
to be regularized thus they are covered by Dublin regulation. While waiting for
their cases to be processed, they are left to fend for themselves since the
government does not provide housing solutions.

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