24 March 2007

They won't take it with them

This video was shot on Tuesday, the 20th of March in Paris between the rue Rampal and rue du Général Lassalle in the 19th district of Paris. It was around 6pm, as parents were picking-up kids from the nearby elementary school. A Chinese grandfather who was going to pick-up his grandchildren in other nearby schools was detained in a café for an hour on the account that he was a "sans-papiers"/illegal immigrant and then arrested (according to the police prefecture, the police was in the café in the first place because they were looking for unlicensed weapons). When the police proceeded to his arrest, although the person wasn't violent, they used unnecessary force in front of parents and their kids and it prompted the crowd to stop the police from taking him away.
This video shows people trying to stop the police car in which they placed the grandfather to drive away. The only way the police managed to leave the scene in the end was to throw tear gas at people (their children got some too).
The day after, the head of the school was taken into custody for 7 hours for "affront".
Earlier in the week, an Asian woman was also briefly arrested as she was picking-up her niece in another nearby elementary school before people surrounding the scene prompted the police to release her.
Apparently, 9 illegal immigrants were arrested in that week near schools. And this, in spite of an instruction of the Ministry of Interior dating from last September to not proceed to arrests inside or in the proximity of schools (similar commitments had been taken from the Police prefecture last summer).
It reminds me of an event dating from the last 30th of January when the police waited for "sans-papiers" to come to a "Restos du coeur" food distribution on the Place de la République in Paris and started to arrest them based on their look ("visibly aliens").
And so the police is using baits: schools, Restos du coeur... what's next? Hospitals? Places that immigrants can't avoid and that are essentials to their lives? To use baits to make raids just shows how low, how degraded, how mediocre and how impotent the police is. What a way to set an example and to make things better in our society.
Side note: At the beginning of the video, you see a policeman asking the woman shooting the scene with the camera for a press card and telling her not to get policemen on the video. Personally, I don't know where it is written that you can't use a camera if you're not a journalist???
More info (in French) in an article in Le Monde + on the RESF website (Réseau Education Sans Frontières).

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