Paris housing protests programme on Radio 4 today

Gerrard Winstanley news at
Thu Mar 13 21:35:32 GMT 2008

11am - Crossing Continents - French Housing
Thursday, 13 March 2008

Jonny Diamond meets the new generation of French protesters who have
been spurred into action by the housing crisis in their country.
Occupying buildings, sports halls or even pavements in order to
provoke the authorities into action, they are fighting against the
lack of affordable housing, the shortage of shelters for the homeless
and the abusive practices that private landlords are getting away with.

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French Housing
Banner at a former bank used by protesters
Crossing Continents
Thursday, 13 March 2008
At 1102 GMT on BBC Radio 4

Young people have a hard time finding suitable accommodation in Paris,
and other parts of France.

With rents having shot up, there are too few affordable places,
whether in the private or public sector.

Most private landlords demand a permanent job with a salary that is at
least three times the rent.

This makes it impossible for many to find a home, from the unemployed
or poor to middle-class professionals who are not established in their
careers yet.

In the meantime over 10% of properties in Paris are vacant. Some of
the owners do not rent them out as they use them for real estate
speculation, while others are put off by the time it takes to evict
any tenants that fall behind with the rent.


This has spurred a number of young people into action, either for
themselves, or on behalf of others. A new wave of youth activists has
been making headlines, with fun, ironic stunts and happenings, or more
traditional methods like squatting.

And they are being effective. They get invitations to the Housing
Ministry, and got promises out of presidential candidate, now
President, Nicolas Sarkozy, who has since disappointed them.

One group squatted an empty bank-owned building till the town hall
bought it to turn it into council flats. Another group is exposing
landlords who offer reduced rent in return for "services" - not
ironing, but sex.

BBC Radio 4's Crossing Continents will be broadcast on Thursday, 13
March 2008 at 1102 GMT. It will be repeated on Monday, 17 March 2008
at 2030 GMT.

Reporter: Jonny Dymond
Producer: Arlene Gregorius

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