Occupation of a detention centre in construction
07.May.04 - Tuesday at 7am about thirty activists including militants of the CAE invaded the workplace for the new police station of Palaiseau near Paris which is planned to include a detention centre. Eight of them climbed on the crane and appended to it large banners: "No to detention centres" and "NO to all prisons". When work was to start the police ousted those who were on the ground and released them after an identity check. They spent the day distributing leaflets in the city which explained the action and called for a rally at 6pm. Work was stopped while the eight remained on the crane. They were finally taken away shortly before 6pm by the RAID (a very well trained unit of the French police). They were taken to the police station for interrogation and released while the demonstrators were repelled from the police station by tear gas.
On thursday news came that after this action the mayor of Palaiseau (SP) had written to the minister of home affairs to ask that the works be stopped.
A campaign against this projected detention centre has been under way for three years now. It was started during the campaign for the municipal elections of 2001 when the CAE (Collective against Deportations, from Paris), having just learnt about the project, exposed it in a campaign meeting of the "left". This quickly led to the creation of a collective against detention centres which included a few individuals and the "left of the left" (Greens, the Trotskiists of LCR,and PCOF which is more or less supposed to be Marxist-Leninist). But the really active elements were CAE, a local collective of sans-papiers and to some extent the CP (we benefit from a local conflict within the left). The mayor himself in a first step said he agreed with the idea of having the centre in Palaiseau, then, as the campaign developed, he said that he had always been against it but that he could do nothing to prevent it. Our last action seems to have changed his mind.
A recent law has brought the time a foreigner may be detained pending deportation from 12 to 32 days. Also the government is putting pressure on the police to double the number of deportations. One outcome is that the detention centres are full and the government is building a number of new ones and enlarging some existing ones. The CAE endeavours to build a national campaign against detention centres. On April 17th a first action day took place with events in Palaiseau, Lyon and Lille.