France detains 21 af­ter African mi­grants oc­cupy Pan­theon

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FRANCE on Satur­day de­tained 21 African mi­grants who surged into the Pan­theon in Paris to push their claims for reg­u­larised sta­tus, po­lice said.

The 21 will be held pend­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into po­ten­tially “vi­o­lat­ing leg­is­la­tion on for­eign­ers,” the lo­cal pre­fec­ture said.

One demon­stra­tor was also de­tained on a charge of vi­o­lent be­hav­iour against a po­lice of­fi­cer and was due to face a mag­is­trate Sun­day, the Paris prose­cu­tor said.

A small crowd gath­ered out­side the po­lice com­mis­sariat in Paris’ fifth district where the mi­grants were de­tained. Some bran­dished plac­ards urg­ing the au­thor­i­ties to “free the gilets noirs (black vests)” and “po­lice racists,” ac­cord­ing to an AFP pho­tog­ra­pher.

The “Black Vests” is a Paris-based mi­grant as­so­ci­a­tion that takes its name from the “yel­low vest” anti-gov­ern­ment protest move­ment.

French au­thor­i­ties had ar­rested 37 peo­ple on Fri­day af­ter around 700 un­doc­u­mented mi­grants stormed the Pan­theon, the fi­nal rest­ing place of France’s great­est non-mil­i­tary lu­mi­nar­ies in­clud­ing the writ­ers Voltaire, Vic­tor Hugo and Emile Zola.

In a state­ment Fri­day, the Black Vest pro­test­ers said they wanted “pa­pers and hous­ing for ev­ery­one”, de­scrib­ing them­selves as “the un­doc­u­mented, the voice­less and the face­less of the French Repub­lic”.

They also de­manded a meet­ing with Prime Min­is­ter Edouard Philippe.

Af­ter the mi­grants were Fri­day brought out of the Pan­theon Philippe tweeted the need to re­spect “the rule of law which means re­spect for the rules that ap­ply to the right to re­main, re­spect for pub­lic mon­u­ments and for the mem­ory they rep­re­sent”.

The “Black Vests” are known for stag­ing head­line­grab­bing protests in sup­port of the un­doc­u­mented.

In June, they briefly oc­cu­pied the head­quar­ters of the Paris-based cater­ing and prop­erty Elior Group and in May its ac­tivists oc­cu­pied a ter­mi­nal at the city’s Charles De Gaulle air­port against “Air France’s col­lab­o­ra­tion” in the de­por­ta­tion of un­doc­u­mented mi­grants. Agence FrancePres­se

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