After those of May, June and October, which had brought together thousands of people, this fourth day of mobilization took place this Friday in about fifty cities including Bordeaux, Marseille or Strasbourg.
“During the Covid, we are the ones doing all the work”: the undocumented migrants took advantage of International Migrants Day this Friday to demonstrate throughout France and again demand the regularization of illegal immigrants, weakened by the health crisis .
After those of May, June and October which had brought together thousands of people, this fourth day of mobilization took place in about fifty cities including Bordeaux, Marseille and Strasbourg.
In Paris, more than a thousand undocumented migrants, mainly from Africa, demonstrated peacefully between 6.30 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the center of the capital, supervised by a very large police force, noted a journalist from the Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Torches lit in memory of dead migrants
“Undocumented migrants in danger”, “The national effort is us”, proclaimed their banners in particular, lit by torches lit in memory of the migrants who died in exile.
“We are there for all undocumented migrants in France. During the Covid, it is we who do all the work, who have cleaned the hospitals, while those who have short-time work are warm at home. government has forgotten us, “lamented to AFP Siby Ahamada, member of the collective of undocumented migrants in Montreuil.
Not far from there, Kanouté, a 25-year-old Malian, explains that he has two jobs, one diving in a restaurant in the 8th arrondissement, in the dark, the other as an UberEats delivery man, by bike, which he performs with someone else’s identity.
“I ride all night”
“I am given an account and I drive all night and at the end the guy gives me a few euros. During confinement, we did not stop”, he explains, adding: “Without papers, we do not can not really start our life “in France.
“Since we have no papers, the bosses take advantage of us and when they want they don’t pay us”, explains another Malian, Lassana, 50, who has been living clandestinely in France for 19 years and works in the building industry ” a week here, a day there, sometimes just for 40 euros “. “We’ve been here for a long time, but our life is blocked.”
The Paris police headquarters had banned part of the parade – the arrival of the procession in front of the town hall – on grounds of fears of disturbances at the time of the anti-Covid curfew introduced from 8 p.m., in these very commercial districts crowded on the eve of Christmas.
“Migrants are still on the streets”
The organizers initially suggested that a new encampment could still be set up in front of the Town Hall at the end of the demonstration, three weeks after the forceful dismantling by the police of migrant tents installed on the Place de the Republic, which had aroused great emotion. They finally changed their minds in the face of the massive police force deployed there, calling for dispersal “so as not to put people in danger”.
“The indignation born on the Place de la République, what is the result? The migrants are still on the street. The indignation, it’s good, we what we want are acts”, denounced Denis Godard, one of the organizers of this “March of Solidarity” called for by more than 200 collectives.
The sans-papiers hope that this “Act IV” will listen more attentively than during the demonstrations in October, organized the day after the assassination of Samuel Paty by a refugee of Chechen origin converted to jihadist theses.
A feeling of injustice
“The feeling of injustice is such for these people, who are in essential professions, that this denial of rights is unbearable”, underlined Fernanda Marrucchelli, of the Federation of associations of solidarity with all immigrants (Fasti).
In recent months, the file has not remained at a standstill: the government instructed the prefects in mid-September to facilitate the French naturalization of foreign nationals mobilized on the front line during the epidemic.
In early November, the entourage of the Minister for Citizenship Marlène Schiappa announced that a first series of 334 naturalizations was underway.
A drop of water, immediately judged the associations who believe that naturalizations, reserved by definition for foreigners in a legal situation, are only a tiny part of the equation.
The number of undocumented migrants in France is estimated between 300,000 to 600,000.