Today, Monday 7th November, the 43 detainees of 127bis detenion centre at Steenokkerzeel near Brusseleas have begun a hunger strike. They state that they do not accept their imprisonment and their treatment as criminals. They demand their liberty and their dignity.
November 7, 2011
October 31, 2011
On 24th October the Maison des Roms in the 20th arrondissement of Paris – a warehouse owned by the Mairie de Paris which has been squatted for almost a year by around 100 Roma including children and elderly people – was burned down after a firebomb attack. Fortunately there were no fatalities; one passer-by was taken to hospital.
The attack came two days after a demonstration in the neighbourhood where some demonstrators proclaimed “we are going to burn everything!”. Le Collectif contre la xénophobie has denounced the attack and demanded that the authorities make every effort to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
August 8, 2011
On Saturday 6th August, on the first anniversary of the eviction of an ex-Sécurité sociale office housing sans papiers, 400 people, including former residents of the squat, marched through Paris demanding regularisation. Maman Cissoko, one of the demonstrators who has worked in France for the last decade without papers, told Liberation: “The fight continues, we remain mobilised until all the sans-papiers are regularised”.
August 5, 2011
On Monday 1st August France’s largest “administrative retention centre” (CRA) opened at Mesnil-Amelot near Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris. It can hold up to 240 detainees including children and has been build on a modern prison model, with buildings in a star facing towards the centre, surveillance cameras, movement detectors. There is a tribunal next to the CRA and the whole site is encirled with barbed wire. The centre’s opening has been denounced by many French associations including Cimade. (See their press release in French here).
April 30, 2011
On Thursday 28th April around 20 activists blocked the entrance to the 127 bis detention centre in Steenokkerzeel, near the main airport of Brussels. They were attempting to stop the deportation of 60 Congolese refugees on a charter flight to Kinshasa organised by the joint European border agency Frontex and “secured” by Belgian federal police.
The action began at 4.30 am when activists blocked the gates using lock-ons. The Congolese prisoners were due to be taken from the detention centre to a plane waiting at the Melsbroek military airport. More prisoners were being brought from four other countries, including the UK as well as Ireland, Holland and Sweden, to join the flight.
At around 9am the Belgian police cutting team managed to clear the blockade and the activists were arrested. Police closed off the area around the detention centre to prevent access to journalists who had arrived to cover the action. By midday the Congolese prisoners had been taken out of the detention centre by bus under a heavy police escort.
On Tuesday 26th and Wednesday 27th April, dozens of Tunisian migrants who were camped in the parc de la Villette (19th arrondissement of Paris) were arrested by police and placed into custody. Meanwhile 15 Tunisians camped in a park near to la gare Saint-Charles in Marsailles were arrested on Wednesday evening. The prosecutors say that the migrants are in breach of the terms of their temporary Schengen visas as they do not have the means to support themselves.
February 20, 2011
On 17th February 2011 there was a demo in front of the office of the Ministre de la politique d’immigration et d’asile Melchior Wathelet bringing together most of the 150 occupants of la rue Brogniez, 5 representantives of the 25 hunger strikers of la rue des Chartreux and their supporters to demand that that ministry makes a decision regardeing their requests for regularisation. Most of the demonstrators have already waited more than 6 months for this decision. For a video of the demo (in French) see here.
Today, Sunday 20th February, that there was a fire in the detention centre 127bis at Steenokkerzeel near Brussels. All the detainees were evacuated and one escaped. The fire coincided with a solidarity demo which was taking place outside the centre. See a video report here.
February 18, 2011
On Sunday 13th February, activists distributed a lealfet asking passengers on a flight to Bamako to stand up and resist the deportation. The deportation was successfully prevented. You can see a copy of the leaflet (in French) here.
Currently around 50 Roma including children and pregnant women are camping behind the train station in Grenoble. They are harassed by police and told to move on, but are not given any help from the authorities. You can see a short video about them here.