French protests against detention plan for illegal immigrants
5,000 and 8,000 people demonstrated across France Saturday against new proposals to allow illegal immigrants to be detained for up to 18 months
PARIS, January 21, 2008 - Between 5,000 and 8,000 people demonstrated
across France Saturday against new proposals to allow illegal immigrants to be
detained for up to 18 months.
The largest single protest came in Paris, where organisers put the number
at 3,500 and police at 2,900.
Currently France can only hold so-called 'sans-papiers', or undocumented
residents, for up to 32 days but a new EU directive aims to harmonize the
maximum period across member states at 18 months.
The demonstrations passed off with only minor incidents although police
briefly used tear gas to regain control of the street after stones were thrown
near the Bois de Vincennes park in southwest Paris.
"We are here not to denounce the conditions in the holding centres but the
very fact that people are being held in detention centres without an
adjudication," said Richard Moyon, spokesman for the Education Network Without
Frontiers (RESF), one of the organisations behind the protest.
"They have committed no crime, but they find themselves banished from their
own life, the job, their families," he added.
Banners on the protest variously read: "Welcome to Sarko-land", "France's
Shame" and "25,000 Expulsions = 25,000 Crimes."
Around 10 leftwing parliamentarians used their legislative right to visit
one detention centre, turning up at the doors of a building used to house
illegal immigrants in the Paris suburb of Mesnil-Amelot.