Thousands protest France's DNA immigration law

22nd October 2007, Comments 0 comments

22 October 2007 , PARIS (AFP) - Thousands of people took to the streets across France Saturday to protest against a bill going through parliament that would bring in DNA testing for foreigners wishing to join their families here.

22 October 2007

PARIS (AFP) - Thousands of people took to the streets across France Saturday to protest against a bill going through parliament that would bring in DNA testing for foreigners wishing to join their families here.

Organisers said some 3,000 people attended a march through Paris as part of a "national day of solidarity with foreigners". Police put the figure at 1,500.

The protests, organised by immigration campaigners, leftist groups and rights organisations, drew between 500 and 1,000 people in Bordeaux and several hundred each in Marseille, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Nantes, Rennes and Dijon.

Among those marching in Paris was Arlette Laguiller, spokeswoman for the far-left Lutte Ouvriere party, who denounced the government of President Nicolas Sarkozy for "pandering to the far-right" with the immigration law.

Demonstrators held banners calling for illegal immigrants to have their status formalised and urging an end to deportations and to "genetic filing".

Many employed immigrants were among the crowd. Ahmed, a 37-year-old removal man, complained that "we have been paying our taxes for years and we should be regarded by the government as other workers are".

The immigration bill, which is expected to approved in parliament this week, has met fierce opposition from left-wing critics but also some members of the ruling right, as well as religious leaders and campaigning groups.

Supporters say the measure would make it possible for would-be immigrants to speed up the application process by proving their kinship to family members in France. They point out that 12 other EU countries carry out similar tests.

But opponents say the bill would set a dangerous precedent by making genetic affiliation a criterion for citizenship.

The government was forced to make a series of concessions to the proposed law to win over critics, including introducing the DNA tests only in countries where civil status documents proving kinship are often counterfeited.

AFP

Subject: French news

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