Close down the squats: Sarkozy

30th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

REIMS, France, Aug 30 (AFP) - France's squats and insalubrious buildings must be closed to habitation to prevent a reccurrence of the fires that ravaged two buildings in Paris housing African immigrants over the past few days, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said Tuesday.

REIMS, France, Aug 30 (AFP) - France's squats and insalubrious buildings must be closed to habitation to prevent a reccurrence of the fires that ravaged two buildings in Paris housing African immigrants over the past few days, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said Tuesday.

"All these squats and all these buildings have to be closed to stop these tragedies and that's what I've asked the police commissioner to do because we're talking about human beings living in unacceptable conditions," he told France Inter radio.

"By accepting these people who, unfortunately, we can't offer work or housing, we find ourselves in a situation where we have these tragedies," said the hardline minister, who is leading a crackdown on illegal immigration.

Seven people -- four children and three adults -- died late Monday when a fire broke out in a five-storey Paris squat inhabited by illegal immigrants from Ivory Coast.

The blaze came just four days after another that claimed the lives of 14 children and three adults, all also African immigrants, in another part of the city.

Sarkozy ordered an inspection of buildings in Paris likely to be fire hazards after last Friday's blaze.

He has also been spearheading the government's crackdown on illegal immigrants, the number of which he estimated at between 200,000 and 400,000.

Earlier this month, he said the number of immigrants deported from France
would rise to 23,000 this year.

According to one charity, the Abbé Pierre Foundation, more than three million people out of France's population of 60 million live without basic amenities such as running water, toilets or heating.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, fire, Sarkozy, low-income housing, subsidized housing, squats, immigration, Ivory Coast

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