Mindanao Times

France detains 21 after African migrants occupy Pantheon


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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