PARIS - Paris authorities have removed thousands of homeless people from the streets ahead of the Olympic Games in what campaigners have called a “clean-up” drive of those “considered undesirable”.

Authorities have been removing people since April last year for the upcoming games, a report by the collective Le Revers de la Médaille, which represents 90 associations, said.

The collective said that more than 12,545 people have been moved in 13 months and dismantling of tent camps have also increased in that period. Homeless people who are being moved include immigrants, women, and children who were already in vulnerable situations, the group said.

Paris is hosting the Summer Olympics from 26 July to 11 August and the city is getting a facelift to accommodate more than 10,500 athletes competing in 329 events from around the world. It will be followed by Paralympics from 28 August to 8 September.

"We hoped that this edition would be different from previous ones and we made suggestions over a long period in this regard," the report said. "Today... we can state that Paris 2024 will be no different from previous editions and will truly accelerate the exclusion of the most vulnerable."

Paul Alauzy, of health monitoring charity Médecins du Monde, described it as “social cleansing” of the most vulnerable people in efforts to “appear in the most flattering light possible” for the Olympics.

He said the homeless people were being bussed to temporary regional centres that were set up last year as a short-term fix for the issue.

“They are hiding the misery under the rug,” he said. “If this really was a dignified solution to the problem, people would be fighting to get on the buses. They’re not. We are in the process of making life impossible for these people and those who support them.”

The collective said that the public policies that have been targeting the vulnerable have been in place for years but it has been accelerated by the games.

“This clean-up is based on a double approach of dispersal to avoid the creation of informal settlements that would be too visible, and the removal from the Paris conurbation of those people who are in a very precarious situation and who may occupy public space on a daily basis,” Mr Alauzy said.

Areas used by sex workers in northern Paris and in the eastern Vincennes wood had seen “increased police pressure” leading to identity checks, detentions and expulsion orders for dozens of people, the report stated.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said the city hall had been asking the government for years to come up with a plan to house an estimated 3,600 people living on the streets of Paris.

“I am angry about this being pushed on to the city [authority] because it’s not our role or responsibility and we already play more than our part in finding urgent accommodation for vulnerable people. Every week we are putting families into homes,” Ms Hidalgo said.

Responding to the report, the social affairs ministry said it "took the concerns seriously" and had “regularly consulted" the city’s charities.

The Paris 2024 organising committee has said it is not responsible for the social policies of the government.