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    Migrants pass by a road sign as they leave the northern area of the camp called the Jungle in Calais, France, September 7, 2016

    French Mayors Split Over Plans to Spread Calais 'Quasi-Refugees' Across Country

    © REUTERS / Charles Platiau
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    The French government has announced plans to create about 12,000 places for migrants across France in a bid to clear out Calais in the run-up to the destruction of the Calais Jungle migrant camp, according to Le Figaro.

    The French government has announced plans to create centers to house the 12,000 migrants who will be evacuated from the illegal camp in Calais. The centers will be built all across France, except in Paris and Corsica, Le Figaro reported.

    At the same time, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said that "Europe's first refugee center in a zone of high urbanization" is due to open in the French capital in the near future.

    In an interview with Sputnik, Alain Lassus, the socialist-leaning mayor of Decize Commune in central France, reflected on the positive experience of receiving migrants and refugees in his community. 

    "It is safe to say that this experience proved to be positive because we faced no problems when tackling the issue. From the very beginning I made it clear by saying that we must show solidarity and receive these people who are in trouble. Given that we are all citizens of the world, we should give a helping hand to those in hot water," he said.

    Harbor workers, truck drivers, farmers, storekeepers and residents attend a protest demonstration on the motorway against the migrant situation in Calais, France, September 5, 2016
    © REUTERS / Charles Platiau
    Harbor workers, truck drivers, farmers, storekeepers and residents attend a protest demonstration on the motorway against the migrant situation in Calais, France, September 5, 2016

    He added that 19 migrants arrived at Decize some time ago in connection with the government's request to take in migrants from Calais, and that these migrants are set to stay in Decize, a picturesque community with a population of under 6,000, for six months.

    In contrast, Robert Menard, the populist mayor of the town of Beziers in southern France, told Sputnik that he does not want his city to be turned into "a small Calais." Menard co-founded Reporters Without Borders and served as its General Secretary until 2008; in 2014 the former socialist was elected to lead Beziers with support from Marine Le Pen's Front Nationale.

    Aerial view of a makeshift camp as containers (front) are put into place to house migrants living in what is known as the Jungle, a sprawling camp in Calais, France, August 14, 2016
    © REUTERS / Pascal Rossignol
    Aerial view of a makeshift camp as containers (front) are put into place to house migrants living in what is known as the "Jungle", a sprawling camp in Calais, France, August 14, 2016

    He blamed the French government for its inability to resolve migration-related problems, specifically pointing to the fact that there were 10,000 migrants in the Calais Jungle, not 4,000 as the government claimed.

    "So the government offers to 'distribute' the problem throughout France, but I do not want to grapple with this problem because I have already enough migrants [and don't need] to take in more of them. Earlier I  opposed the arrival of Syrian 'refugees' in Beziers, and now I do not want Calais migrants to come to my city which is poor enough and which has other problems to deal with," he said.

    When asked about the problems related to the migrants who currently reside in Beziers, which has a population of about 73,000, Menard said that migration adds significantly to crime and terrorism.

    "When we received scores of Syrian and Iraqi quasi-refugees in France, we actually received some number of jihadists who proved to be terrorists.This is reality, which was confirmed by this year's terrorist attacks in France. This is why it is necessary to halt the migration process and stop accepting pseudo-refugees," he said.

    In a separate interview with Sputnik, Jean-Charles Orsucci, Mayor of the city of Bonifacio in southern Corsica, said that it is only natural that the French government decided not to send Calais migrants to Corsica, given that refugee-related tensions that have persisted there in the past few months.

    "One cannot say that the government is not right in taking the decision. It's enough to analyze the events that occurred in Sisco, Bonifacio, and the neighborhood of Jardins de l'Empereur [in Ajaccio]," he said referring to the protests against people of North African and Muslim origin in Corsica.

    In particular, skirmishes at a beach in the commune of Sisco in mid-August left at least four people injured and led to riot police being brought in to stop a crowd of 200 Corsicans marching into a housing estate with a high population of people of North African origin, shouting "this is our home", according to the Guardian.

    Since last year, Calais has served as the location of the Jungle, notorious for its dreadful living conditions. Thousands of migrants, mainly from the Middle East and North Africa, are living in the Jungle, located not far from the Channel Tunnel, in the hope of reaching the United Kingdom.

    Related:

    Calais Deputy Mayor Slams Gov't's 'Go-Slow' Handling of 'Jungle' Camp Crisis
    Activist Groups Urge UK, France to Scrap Calais Wall in Favor of Rehousing
    Building Wall at French Calais Could Cause Humanitarian Crisis in Refugee Camp
    Law of the Jungle: Calais Citizens Living on the Brink
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