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Qatar evicts thousands of foreign workers from Doha ahead of WC

Qatar has emptied apartment blocks housing thousands of foreign workers in the same areas in the centre of the capital Doha where visiting fans will stay during the World Cup, workers who were evicted from their homes have said.

They said more than a dozen buildings had been evacuated and shut down by the authorities, forcing the mainly Asian and African workers to seek what shelter they could, including bedding down on the pavement outside one of their former homes.

The move comes three weeks before the start of the tournament on November 20, which has drawn intense international scrutiny of Qatar's treatment of foreign workers and its restrictive social laws.

At one building, which residents said housed 1,200 people in Doha's Al Mansoura district, authorities told people at about 8pm on Wednesday that they had just two hours to leave.

Municipal officials returned around 10.30pm, forced everyone out and locked the doors to the building, they said. Some men had not been able to return in time to collect their belongings.

"We don't have anywhere to go," one man told Reuters the next day, as he prepared to sleep out for a second night with around 10 other men, some of them shirtless in the autumn heat and humidity of the Gulf Arab state

He, and most other workers who spoke to Reuters, declined to give their names or personal details for fear of reprisals from the authorities or employers.

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