Thousands protest in France after death of immigrant fleeing police
Thousands protested against the government's immigration policies in Paris following the death of a 29-year-old illegal immigrant.
PARIS, April 7, 2008 (AFP) - Thousands protested against the government's
immigration policies in Paris on Saturday following the death of a 29-year-old
illegal immigrant of Malian origin who jumped into a river to escape police.
Organisers said between 15,000 and 20,000 people participated in the march
to the immigration ministry in the capital. Police put the number at 4,200.
The man died on Friday after having jumped in the Marne river at
Joinville-le-Pont east of Paris. Regional official Bernard Tomasini said he
was in the country illegally.
He ran from police when they attempted to check his identity papers at a
commuter train station. Officers chased him and he later jumped from a bridge
into the river.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy's tough line on immigration has come under
As interior minister in the previous right-wing government, Sarkozy oversaw
a tightening of immigration rules, setting an annual deportation quota of
25,000 illegal immigrants -- a policy pursued under his presidency and
fiercely contested by the left-wing opposition.
Other protests were held in large French cities on Saturday.