50 illegal immigrants escape Paris detention centre after fire

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The fire which destroyed the centre’s two buildings was started deliberately, said police.

23 June 2008

PARIS - Around 50 non-EU nationals without visas or work permits escaped Sunday from a Paris immigrant detention centre following a fire that police said was started deliberately.

"Some 50-odd detainees have yet to be accounted for," an official from the police headquarters covering the Vincennes district south-east of the French capital told AFP.

A fresh roll-call was being conducted Sunday evening at France's biggest clandestine immigrant processing centre.

The police said the fire - which destroyed the centre's two buildings - had not caused any "serious injuries."

Since mid-December, the site has been the focus of rising tension and protest with the French authorities having stepped up markedly over the past year the numbers of illegal immigrants it deports.

Hunger strikes, fires, refusals to lock down for the night and scuffles with police have all cropped up at the Vincennes centre.

On Saturday, a Tunisian died late afternoon at the centre, with Green Party lawmaker Noel Mamere calling Sunday for a parliamentary inquiry to be opened into conditions at the site.

[AFP / Expatica]

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