Paris: Thousands march in support of evicted Africans

Gerrard Winstanley office at
Tue Sep 12 18:50:03 BST 2006

Thousands march in Paris to support Africans evicted from squat 
The Associated Press - 09SEP06

PARIS Several thousand people, including politicians on France's left, 
marched through Paris on Saturday to support hundreds of African 
immigrants who were evicted from a squat outside Paris last month.

Riot police stormed France's largest squat on Aug. 17, stoking 
nationwide debate about the conservative government's tougher new 
policies to discourage illegal immigration. Many of the squatters were 

Since then, four demonstrations have been waged in support of the 
squatters. On Saturday, protesters marched behind a banner that read: 
"Housing, residency papers and schooling immediately!"

Marchers included actors Emmanuelle Beart and Charles Berling; former 
Culture Minister Jack Lang and former Environment Minister Dominique 
Voynet; and anti-globalization activist Jose Bove. Many of those 
evicted also marched.

Organizers said 15,000 people took part, while police put the figure 
at 3,500. It was the largest demonstration against the eviction so 

Authorities say the evacuation of the building was ordered largely out 
of fear of fires like those that swept through dilapidated housing in 
Paris last year. Those blazes killed about 50 people, mostly African 

But the police operation angered many opponents of Interior Minister 
Nicolas Sarkozy, who has promised to send home at least 25,000 
illegals this year, up from about 20,000 in 2005. His critics say the 
eviction on safety grounds was a pretext for rounding up illegals.

Riot police forced out more than 500 people from the building, an 
abandoned university dormitory in the suburb of Cachan. Dozens of 
illegal immigrants were put in detention centers. Several hundred are 
still staying in a cramped gymnasium nearby and have refused several 
offers for other lodgings.

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