Paris mayor defends plan to clear homeless

25th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 24, 2006 (AFP) - The mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, on Monday defended plans to rid the streets of the French capital of makeshift campsites used by homeless people.

PARIS, July 24, 2006 (AFP) - The mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, on Monday defended plans to rid the streets of the French capital of makeshift campsites used by homeless people.

Speaking after four tents were set ablaze on Sunday, Delanoe said he was responding to complaints from residents and aimed to help the homeless people of the city, who are often seen in tents on streets or under bridges on the banks of the river Seine

"I am not looking to chase away homeless people, I am looking to support them. But I must also respond to requests from residents," he said.

According to one French association, Coeur des Halles, there are 450 tents in the streets of Paris, including 300 that were handed out in winter by the Doctors of the World organisation to draw attention to the effects of social exclusion.

Delanoe, a member of the French Socialist party and a high-profile figure owing to his bold policies in Paris, said he had not asked the police to clear away the tents.

Two humanitarian organisations, Coeur des Halles and Emmaus, have been asked to "convince the homeless to go into accommodation centres?" he said.

Delanoe said Parisians had understood the situation "but at some point, if homeless people - and I am not condemning them - have delinquent attitudes, then it is irritating."

He added: "We need to find a way to be civilised together."

On Sunday, four tents were set alight in Paris without causing any injuries. The circumstances of the fires are unknown.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French News

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