Struggling with its own set of urban challenges, Paris is not exactly the cleanest city in the world. But as the countdown to the start of the Paris Olympics draws near, the organizers are hard at work making the location as hygienic, comfortable, and visually appealing as possible.

Ahead of the event, the authorities are taking the necessary steps to ensure that the athletes’ and spectators’ experience in the city surpasses their expectations. In the past month alone, the authorities have conducted a thorough clean-up of the Seine, one of the city’s most emblematic landmarks and main artery, as well as the eradication of the city’s long-standing bed bug infestation.

What many did not anticipate, however, was that the scope of the purges would extend to the clearing of the tent camps housing migrants from all over the world and the homeless.

Disappointed, the activists held a demonstration in front of the main offices and displayed the phrase “the other side of the medal” in order to safeguard the human liberties of immigrants and those living on the streets.

The Olympic organisers

The Business Mirror also reported that over 70 NGOs wrote to Paris regional officials, the Olympics Organizing Committee, and Olympic sponsors on Monday, warning that the Games could lead to the “social cleansing” of the most marginalized people from the streets and suburbs of Paris.

Antoine de Clerck of Refugee Food, one of the NGOs that protested, have spoken out on the matter and said that cities hosting the Olympics always want to conceal their poverty. And sadly, Paris was no exception.

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“Cities hosting the Olympics want to hide poverty — and begging, drug, whatever gives a less shiny image of a city,” de Clerk said.

Olympic organizers’ response

In response to the protests, the Paris 2024 organizing committee declared that they would listen to the demonstrators and hold discussions to resolve their grievances.

‘’In a spirit of dialogue and listening, Paris 2024 will approach the protesters to meet representatives and discuss their concerns,” the committee stated.

The Paris regional administration also defended the recent roundups, claiming that they had nothing to do with the upcoming Olympics and that they work regularly to find housing for newly arrived migrants and long-term homeless people, having placed over 5,600 people in temporary housing this year.

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