Police brutality against protesting migrants in Paris draws widespread outrage

On November 23, Monday, French police brutally attacked migrants protesting at the Place de la Republique in Paris against last week’s forceful evacuation of the Saint-Denis migrant camp 

November 27, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Migrants Protest-France
Hundreds of shelterless migrants have occupied the Place de la Republique in Paris with makeshift tents, demanding accommodation. 

Migrants and activist groups staged protests in Paris earlier this week against the deteriorating living conditions of migrants in France and the police attack on protesting migrants on November 23, Monday. The migrants were protesting at the Place de la Republique in Paris against last week’s forceful evacuation of the Saint-Denis migrant camp. 

On Monday, migrants and activists occupied the Place de la Republique with makeshift tents, demanding immediate accommodation for those forcefully evacuated. The police in the evening responded with violence to forcefully disperse the occupying migrants. The footage of the brutal police action went viral, drawing widespread criticism across the country.

InfoMigrant.net reported that “in footage filmed during the evening, police raise a tent and turn it over to knock down the person inside. In others, they throw the migrants’ belongings into trucks.” The police also reportedly used tear gas and LBD fire to disperse the migrants. 

Parisians from all walks of life extended their support and solidarity to the migrants’ protest. Protesters have demanded a stop to police violence against migrants and called for the resignation of police prefect Didier Lallement and interior minister Gérald Darmanin, who are being held responsible for the police brutality. 

Pro-migrant activist group Utopia 56 stated, “the violent evacuation of the camp for exiled people in Saint Denis on Tuesday, November 17, left between 700 and 1,000 people homeless without accommodation solutions.” The group has demanded the Paris authorities and the government to immediately provide 1,000 shelters to unconditionally accommodate these migrants as well as a cessation of police violence against the migrant population. They also demanded the French government establish a proper first reception system for exiled people, which allows immediate access to accommodation solutions.

On November 17, a police operation dislodged 2,500 refugees from a camp located in the north of Paris. According to reports, around 800 refugees remain shelterless as of now. 

Monday’s police action against migrants coincided with protests that are taking place in the country against the proposed ‘global security’ bill proposed by the Emmanul Macron-led government. Among the main aspects of the controversial bill, currently being debated in the French parliament, is that it illegalizes the dissemination of images where police officers can be identified. As the footage of police brutality at Place de la Republique went viral, progressive sections in the country reiterated their opposition to the global security bill, which is likely to eliminate another check against the abuse of power by the police and other state authorities.