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French court rejects bid to shut down more than 70 eateries in Calais refugee camp

In this Feb. 5, 2016 photo, French riot police officers patrol in the migrant camp in Calais, north of France.
In this Feb. 5, 2016 photo, French riot police officers patrol in the migrant camp in Calais, north of France. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

PARIS – A French court has rejected a bid to close the 72 eateries and shops in the makeshift migrant camp in the northern port city of Calais, but the prefecture says it will continue inspections and legal action against what it calls a dangerous underground economy.

READ MORE: ‘I need help’: How one panicked, trans-Atlantic text saved 15 trapped migrants

The Lille court turned down on Friday the demand of the Prefecture of the Pas de Calais region, the state representative, to close the operations which humanitarian organizations contend are a lifeline for the migrants, estimated at over 7,000 in the camp.

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A statement by the prefecture said the installations don’t respect sanitation rules, risk fires and are a source of public disorder.

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The state provides free meals, but aid groups say not enough.