Tensions between locals and migrants erupted this week in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis after a migrant punched a two-year-old in the head.
The attack took place on the President-Wilson avenue near a migrant camp at around 5:30 pm. A migrant randomly approached a woman and her two-year-old son and punch the child in the head outside of a Franprix grocery shop, Le Parisien reports.
As the woman, named Sandy, demanded an explanation from the migrant, she, too, was also punched in the face, bruising her cheekbone.
Sandy claimed that the man who attacked her son had come from a nearby migrant camp and said that while the toddler received a lump on his forehead and required a hospital visit, his injuries were not serious.
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The migrant attacker, however, was nearly lynched by locals who attacked him and left him bleeding, according to the young mother. A dozen locals later took to the streets near the migrant camp to protest the attack.
“We called the police. After an hour, they told us that they could not move because they no longer had a patrol car available,” one demonstrator said. The lack of police presence was likely explained by a football match between France and Turkey that took place on the same evening.
Youma, a local female resident, said that women were particularly vulnerable in the area and described an incident in which her 15-year-old daughter had been sexually harassed by an exhibitionist migrant and another had spat in her face.
For around two years in the area, the non-profit group Solidarité Migrants Wilson gave out meals to homeless migrants but stopped in 2018 due to safety concerns.
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Philippe Caro, a member of the group told, Le Parisien: “There are a lot of great people and of course some hooligans in the package. Their mental health is deteriorating and they are not supported.”
Residents in other parts of Paris have also complained about the presence of migrant camps in their area including in the heavily migrant-populated 18th arrondissement of Paris where residents say they have been abandoned by the government.