Protests by some residents in a Paris neighbourhood resulted in the postponement of the opening of a migrant reception centre for hundreds of migrants in the French capital.
The Paris prefecture has postponed the opening of a migrant reception centre for hundreds of migrants in Paris in the arrondissement of Montmartre, after residents staged a protest. Residents said they were neither consulted nor advised that the centre was opening.
No centre following protests
The centre was slated to open on the morning of 29 August on rue des Poissonniers 151, in a former gymnasium belonging to public transport company RATP. The gymnasium shares a common access courtyard with a building that houses dozens of apartments. On opening day, the area’s residents, and in particular the building’s occupants – who told French daily Le Parisien that they were not notified about the centre – staged a protest. In response, the regional Ile-de-France prefecture decided to postpone the opening.
Some protesters, including some in front of TV cameras, said the decision was made “under the table”. One of the building’s residents, a woman named Catherine, told Le Parisien that she was sure there would be “safety and hygiene problems”. “We’re already close to the Porte de la Chapelle, where there’s a Roma camp, but here we’re talking about our own courtyard. I don’t agree,” she said.
Other residents said they were also distressed about the decision. “I go to work in the morning and leave before 5 a.m., and I have no desire to find myself in front of 50 ugly mugs,” another woman said. Among the complaints of those who fear problems of drug dealing or violence, the common theme is that of being faced with a decision that was already taken. Eric Lejoindre, the arrondissement’s socialist president, said he was neither consulted nor informed about the centre. The prefecture, embarrassed, said it is now open to dialogue.