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France evicts hundreds of migrants from Paris squats ahead of the Olympic Games

French authorities on Wednesday evicted hundreds of migrants from a squat in a southern suburb of Paris, with just 100 days to go until the Olympic Games, and encouraged them to board buses to other parts of France.

Charities have accused authorities of trying to remove homeless people from the French capital to make it look better for the July 26 to August 11 Games.

The abandoned office building in Vitry-sur-Seine housed some 450 migrants, most of whom were documented but were waiting for social housing, according to non-governmental organizations that came to help them.

Several people had left the building earlier this week after authorities announced the impending eviction.

Clutching their belongings in bags, suitcases or trolleys, the 300 or so people who had remained calm under the watchful eyes of riot police on Wednesday morning left, anxious about their next move.

Most were young men, but some young mothers with children were also among the crowd.

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One by one, with documents in plastic folders, they approached immigration officials sitting behind tables to explain their situation in broken French or stilted English.

Buses were waiting outside to take them to the central city of Orleans or the southwestern city of Bordeaux.

But many people said they did not want to leave the Paris region.

“I want to stay here,” said Abakar, a 29-year-old from Sudan who did not give his middle name.

He said he was in Paris to take a logistics course and had been promised a job in a supermarket.

At one table, a female official tried to convince another young man to try his luck in Bordeaux.

‘You know, in France there is not only Paris. Bordeaux is nice, it’s warmer than here,” she said.

But he was also training in the capital region, so she referred him to another table where a colleague was in charge of accommodation near Paris.

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