French police clear migrant camp in central Paris

French gendarmes clearing out a makeshift camp along side of the canal Saint Martin (Francois Mori/AP)

French police have evacuated around 500 migrants – mostly Afghans and Africans – from a makeshift tent encampment in central Paris.

In the dawn operation on Monday, buses took them to lodgings in the Paris region where they can pursue asylum requests.

James Okafor, who fled Nigeria after being attacked, said he “will be very happy to leave” because it will help him meet officials who will decide if he can stay in France.

Others were apprehensive, since most of the migrants do not speak French or English.

Two migrants drowned last month nearby and fights at camps have led to injuries, increasing the pressure on officials to close them.

In three years, police have evacuated 28,000 migrants from Paris camps.