Posted on April 18, 2016

Ferocious Battle at Paris Migrant Camp: Refugees Armed with Metal Poles Clash with Vigilantes

Francis Scott, Daily Mail, April 16, 2016

Riot police were called in to break up a violent clash between hundreds of migrants and a ‘vigilante group’ near a Paris metro station.

Footage from Stalingrad metro, where more than a thousand migrants have been living rough, showed hundreds of men brawling with metal poles and planks of wood.

The violence erupted underneath the tracks when a group of men threw objects at the migrants, most of whom are thought to come from Africa and the Middle East.

Riot police used tear gas to disperse the crowd and arrested a drunk man who is thought to have thrown the first missile which sparked the chaos, Le Parisien reported.

The police are said to have been pelted with bottles and debris when they arrived at the scene of the fight between the homeless migrants and a so called ‘anti crime brigade’ from Stalingrad, which lies in the 19th arrondissement of Paris.

The video was filmed from the relative safety of a nearby apartment on the Boulevard de la Vilette.

At least four migrants were wounded in the riot, which was one of two that erupted last night. Both men were rushed to the nearby Lariboisière hospital for treatment.

Almost 1,000 migrants have arrived in the area in just over a month, many travelling from Calais having crossed the Mediterranean from Africa and the Middle East.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve had earlier announced the removal of the camp in a joint statement with Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, but the migrants returned with makeshift mattresses two weeks later.

The camp has been a home for hundreds of people from countries as diverse as Eritrea, Sudan and Afghanistan, but the source of the fights are unclear.

During the day riot police had to use tear gas and pepper spray to control hundreds of protesters who revolted over proposed labour-law reforms, yet it is unknown whether the events are linked.

President Hollande insisted on Friday he would not back down in introducing the law that critics say brings the 35-hour working week in France under threat.

Officers had to use equally desperate measures to calm a protest march that turned violent in Paris on Thursday.