Paris: Thousands march in support of evicted Africans
office at evnuk.org.uk
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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