France: Mesnil-Amelot : fire in the retention centre

Press release – 8th March 2016 Cimade

https://paris-luttes.info/mesnil-amelot-feu-au-centre-de-5012?lang=fr

*Fire in retention : the violence in retention has to end*

Four arsons happened over the last days in the administrative retention centre (CRA) of Mesnil-Amelot. Among the three of them that happened in the CRA n°2, the most violent spread itself on Saturday afternoon. Two fire trucks and one helicopter were requisitioned. At least four people were injured. The other two took place on Sunday night. In the CRA n°3, the fire started on Sunday evening.

The CRA of Mesnil-Amelot is an administrative faction that gathers two centres in the same enclosure, with a relocated court in an adjacent building. It is the biggest CRA in France, strategically located at the feet of Roissy airport runways. All the violence of the retention and deportation politics led by the State towards foreigners is crystallised there.

After the first arson, the women retained in the CRA n°2 were transferred to the CRA of Paris Cité, some men were transferred to the CRA n°3 or to the one in Palaiseau, and some other people were released because the administrative staff didn’t think they would be able to deport them. The more than sixty men who are still detained have now been gathered in the two buildings that are still open and accessible, notably the one of the women-family zone where the heating is not functioning properly.

Two pepole suspected of having started the first fire on Saturday were brought to the hospital. They would have been placed in custody in view of appearing in court following the degradations.

The administration considered appropriate to deprive all the retained people of their rights to have visits since Saturday. They are more isolated than ever although they just lived a traumatic experience that adds to the anxiety-provoking deprivation of liberty. Besides, the personal belongings that remained in the buildings which caught fire are not accessible, including for the few people who were released.

The CRAs regularly catch fire following acts of despair by the retained people [1]

but the later are the first victims of this institutional violence. The Cimade is asking for the immediate release of all the people who are still being retained at the CRA Mesnil-Amelot.

The security obsession that guides the politics led by the government towards foreigners has to end. It only generates violence and despair. A different approach has to be adopted, closing all the retention centres.

*Contact presse :*
Rafael Flichman : 01 44 18 72 62 – 06 42 15 77 14 –
rafael.flichman@lacimade.org

[1] The fire notably started in Vincennes in June 2008 (the centre was completely destroyed and then rebuilt), Nantes in July 2008, the old CRA of Mesnil-Amelot n°1 in August 2008, Toulouse
in February 2009, Bordeaux in March 2009 and then in May 2013, Bobigny in September 2010, Marseille in March 2011, Palaiseau in March 2012, Metz in February 2016.

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