This year, Paris is seeing one of its coldest winters in decades. The masses of snow have caused traffic and public transport chaos and have left thousands of people sleeping rough —many of them migrants— in life-endangering conditions. At the same time, the Macron administration is planning a further neoliberalization of France’s universities and keeps tightening French asylum laws and criminalizing supporters. Recently, in Nantes, Grenoble, and Lyon, refugees, students, and people in solidarity have started occupying university buildings converging these struggles. At the end of January, students protesting planned changes to university access and migrants fighting for a right to stay, housing and an end to the Dublin regulations have also joined forces and occupied building A of university Paris 8/Saint Denis.
These are their demands:
“Communiqué des exilé-e-s de P8”
To the French people, to the students, to those sleeping in the street, to people in solidarity, to people tortured by the Dublin regulation.
We are migrants from all over the world, Dublinned asylum seekers, recognized refugees living rough.
We have been refused asylum, have just crossed the sea, are undocumented minors. We have been occupying Paris 8 University since 30 January 2018. Why have we had to do this?
In the last months, France has deported many people. Many have committed suicide. Three months ago, a friend, depressed because of his Dublin status, lay down on the railway tracks and was run over by a train. Ten days ago in Calais, the police beat and gassed refugees sleeping rough. A young man had half of his face shot off by the police. A friend was arrested when he went to his appointment at the prefecture, then placed in an administrative detention centre (CRA) before being deported back to Italy. The French police have flashing lights, sirens and tear gas and are beyond the law.
The French immigration system only wants our fingerprints, not us. OFPRA, CNDA and the prefecture dish out daily arbitrariness and randomness. At the end of these procedures, without any logic whatsoever some of us are denied asylum, others dublinned for indefinite lengths of time, placed under house arrest and deported.
Our demands are:
- documents for everyone
- decent, permanent housing
- to be allowed to learn French and continue our studies
- an end to the non-recognition of unaccompanied minors (DEMIE)
- an immediate halt to deportations to all countries, European and abroad
We want migrants across France to join us in fighting against oppression and injustice and against police violence in the streets. To the French people, you who carried out the revolution we study in history books, take it up again! We appreciate your support, which, unlike your government, shows real solidarity.
The university administration is negotiating with carrot and stick. First they propose to house us somewhere on the campus and then try to intimidate us with thinly veiled threats of calling in the police. We are asking Paris 8 students and faculty to support us in our demands. We thank you and ask you to remain loyal until end of our struggle. We are joining the undocumented student movement on campus.
To our friends who died crossing the sea,
To our friends who have committed suicide,
To our friends who died because of borders,
To our friends who died in the desert,
To our friends raped in Libya,
We will not forget you.
THE MIGRANTS AT PARIS 8