“Black Vest” Migrant Protesters Occupy Panthéon in Paris
On Friday, 200-300 undocumented African migrants charged through the Panthéon in Paris demanding legal status and housing assistance. The “Gilets Noirs” protested at the national monument stating they “will remain here until the last one of us has been given documents,” according to a leaflet. A protest organizer gave their statement before the scheduled event, “We are paperless, voiceless, faceless for the French Republic. We come to the graves of your great men to denounce your disrespect.”
"We are not fighting only to get documents for migrants, but also against the system that creates undocumented migrants...We will stay here until the last of us have papers, and those who come after have the freedom to stay!"pic.twitter.com/ADSjHPoYH1— Luke Butterly (@lukejbutterly) July 12, 2019
The African migrants spend several hours inside the mausoleum, where French heroes, Victor Hugo and Voltaire are buried. Later, they moved from the interior and attempted a protest outside. The police responded, using pepper spray and batons, and some of the protesters were detained. A few injuries were reported.
Marine Le Pen tweeted, “It is INADMISSIBLE to see illegal immigrants claiming to occupy, with impunity, this high place of the Republic that is the #Panthéon. In France, the only future of an illegal immigrant should be deportation, because it is the LOI. Mlp”
Il est INADMISSIBLE de voir des clandestins revendicatifs occuper, en toute impunité, ce haut lieu de la République qu’est le #Panthéon.— Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) July 12, 2019
En France, le seul avenir d’un clandestin devrait être l’expulsion, car c’est la LOI. MLP pic.twitter.com/K73EuAxZiD
But others disagree, such as Eric Coquerel, member of the National Assembly, who stated, “It’s very important for me that everything goes – at the moment –without violence, peacefully. I hope that their demands will be heard, these people have been protesting for a long time, yet so far they see nothing from the government but a closed door.”