Organisers have had to cancel the “Grand Paris” ten-kilometre run because the makeshift migrant camps that have sprung up along the banks of the Saint-Denis canal have made the route impossible to safely navigate.
The organisers of the event, which sees participants race from the Place de la République, along the Canal Saint-Martin to La Villette, and finally to the Stade de France, cancelled the race because they claim they could find no other route that would avoid the migrant camps, Le Parisien reports.
A statement, which was released this week by the organisers, said: “These makeshift camps are growing and expanding day by day. According to the most recent estimates, in the coming weeks, they will bring together more than 2,500 refugees.”
The statement added that it was “unthinkable to cross these camps. The passage is impossible and it is humanly difficult to run a race in the middle of a refugee camp.”
The race, which saw 6,500 participants in 2017, was scheduled to take place on May 13th with those who already paid to register for the event being told they can either get a refund or put the money toward next year’s race.
One African migrant in Paris believes terrorist organisations like Boko Haram were created by MI6 https://t.co/mBFJMOBD97
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 3, 2017
Over the last several weeks, the makeshift migrant camps in Paris have dramatically expanded with some estimating that up to 550 new migrants arrive in the French capital every week.
Makeshift migrant camps have existed in Paris since the height of the migrant crisis, often moving to other locations after being cleared by French police as was the case with the camp that emerged by the Stalingrad metro station in 2016.
The cancellation of the Grand Paris race is not the first time the makeshift camps have had an effect on the area around them. Last November, the Art Ludique museum, located near the Gare D’Austerlitz train station, was forced to close its doors because a nearby migrant camp scared away potential visitors.