France moves immigrant squatters

Gerrard Winstanley office at
Sat Oct 7 23:00:45 BST 2006

France moves immigrant squatters

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Saturday 07 October 2006, 18:22 Makka Time, 15:22 GMT   
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France started moving 370 immigrant squatters from a sports 
hall on Saturday, ending a seven-week standoff between 
proponents of tough immigration rules and those in favour of the 
humanitarian treatment of immigrants.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the interior minister and conservative hopeful 
for the 2007 presidential elections, has made strict anti-illegal 
immigration policies a key plank of his programme.
But many politicians and human rights activists have rallied 
behind the cause of the immigrants who are occupying a sports 
hall at Cachan, near Paris. 
Pierre Henry, director of the France Terre d'Asile humanitarian 
organisation and a mediator in the standoff, said: "An 
agreement has been signed at 3:30 this morning [0130 GMT] 
about the housing and protection of 370 people."
Sarkozy said: "The evacuation is taking place. It seems that 
responsibility and calm have prevailed and I am profoundly 
The evacuation was expected to be completed on Monday.
More than 200 squatters with residence permits will be 
rehoused. Around 150 illegal immigrants will be dealt with on a 
case by case basis prior to any deportation decisions.
Richard Serero, secretary-general of the League against Racism 
and Antisemitism (Licra), said: "We hope to have found a 
solution that is as humane as possible for these people who 
were in total distress."
The immigrants moved into the hall after a giant squat in a 
disused university dormitory was evacuated by police on August 
Most of the immigrants are from sub-Saharan Africa.

Patrick Gaubert, president of Licra and a European deputy for the 
UMP government party headed by Sarkozy, said: "There are 
some 70 to 80 people who will move today to two or three sites."
More space to house the squatters was being sought in the 
Paris region, he said.

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