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Paris Police, Protesters Scuffle over Migrants amid Hefty Fines for Rejected Refugees | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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French police seal off an area near Paris. Reuters

Police used tear gas on Wednesday to disperse protesters as they evacuated an empty high school in the French capital that has been occupied by migrants.

Nearly 300 migrants from Sudan, Eritrea and a few from Syria had been living in the school in recent weeks, according to Paris police chief Michel Cadot.

Cadot told reporters that police used tear gas to clear protesters who had blocked the entrance to the Jean Jaures school in northeast Paris. Some masked protesters threw projectiles.

The demonstrators included members of a nationwide protest movement against labor reforms.

Cadot said the migrants were being relocated to shelters and encouraged to apply for asylum.
French authorities have routinely cleared out migrants camping in public places in recent months.

The clashes came as the European Commission plans to apply penalties for EU countries that refuse to accept refugees.

The plan aims to more evenly share the burden of hosting hundreds of thousands of people fleeing conflict and violence in places like Syria, with the current asylum system on the verge of collapse.

One document seen by The Associated Press shows that the fines — dubbed a “solidarity contribution” — could total 250,000 euros ($287,300) for each asylum seeker a country turns down.

Officials said the total could still change ahead of the final decision.

Under present EU laws, people seeking international protection in Europe must apply for asylum in the country where they first arrive.