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A recently-married couple embrace near grills covered with "love locks"
Reuters/John Schults
There’s a better way to express love.
TIS THE SEASON

Paris is hoping people will buy “love locks” for refugees at €10 a kilo

By Aamna Mohdin

Parisians have grown tired of tourists adding so-called “love locks” to the city’s historic bridges to symbolize their love and commitment to each other. In 2015, the city removed almost a million padlocks, weighing up to a staggering 45 tons, and put an end to the practice.

Now, authorities have announced plans to sell 10 tonnes (11 tons) worth of love locks to raise €100,000 ($107,658) for refugees. “Members of the public can buy five or ten locks, or even clusters of them, all at an affordable price,” Bruno Julliard, the environment chief at Paris City Hall, told reporters last week. It’s unclear what people would do with the broken locks. The sale for the love locks, which roughly work out around €10 a kilo, is expected to take place next year, and any locks left over will be melted and sold.

The campaign group No Love Locks, which fought to get the love locks removed and calls for an end to the tradition, praised the plan, describing it as “a real expression of love.”

Since France dismantled the so-called “Jungle,” a sprawling refugee camp at the heart of Europe, there was a clear increase in the number of migrants camping out in the streets of Paris. To better deal with what authorities described as “unprecedented migration,” Paris opened its first official refugee camp in October.

Police had to move some 3,800 migrants out of makeshift camps this month, along Canal Saint Martin and underneath the Stalingrad metro station in the city’s north. As the refugee camp can currently only accommodate around 400 migrants, many are left to play a cat-and-mouse game with the police as they find somewhere to sleep on the streets.