by the Collective for Solidarity with the accused of Vincennes
On 25th-27th January the Paris High Court will try ten people for the fire at the Vincennes immigrant detention centre. Our solidarity must look at the full measure of the situation: demanding freedom for those on trial, yes, but also freedom of movement and residency.
The largest detention centre in France burnt on June 22nd 2008. From June 2008 to June 2009, some ten former detainees have been arrested and imprisoned – most of them for nearly one year – in preventive jail. They are charged with “damage”, “voluntary destruction of the buildings of the Vincennes administrative detention centre”, and/or “collective aggression against a police officer, without causing incapacity for work for more than eight days”.
Movements of protest of the locked up sans-papiers have taken place ceaselessly during the six months before the fire. Hunger strikes, beginnings of fires, refusing to be counted, and individual or collective oppositions followed each other during this period. Outside, demonstrations and actions exposed the very existence of these centres and support the revolts.
On June 21st 2008, Salem Souli died in his room after he had asked in vain for medical care. The next day the detainees organized a march in his memory, which was violently repressed. A collective revolt followed and the detention centre was reduced to ashes.
To prevent this type of revolt from spreading, the State must strike hard, it has to find culprits. Ten persons were arrested to serve as examples. We do not care whether they are “guilty” or “innocent”. By punishing them, the State wishes to make disappear revolts, refusal of submission, and acts of resistance on the part of those who are – or will be in the future – between the walls of these centres. The Vincennes revolt is not isolated. Wherever there are detention centres, revolts will spring up, fires will start, flights, hunger strikes, mutinies, and destructions will take place.
The fire at the Vincennes detention centre is not only a symbol: as an immediate consequence of the disappearance of its capacity for 280 people, round-ups and deportations greatly decreased in the Paris region during the following period. Arrests were avoided by the thousands. This act by the detainees has put the deportation machine out of order for a while .
Detention centres are places where one waits, locked up, sometimes without end and without trial, where one dies for lack of care, where one kills oneself rather than be deported. Borders must be abolished!
For all these reasons, and because there is no “good” management of migration, because everybody must be able to decide where he wants to live, we are in solidarity with the accused of the revolt and the arson of the Vincennes detention centre!
«Week of action 16th-24th January: email firstname.lastname@example.org
«Activists from No-one is Illegal, No Borders and the Campaign Against Immigration Controls are meeting in London to discuss how to work more closely together and find a path to uniting.
The meeting is being held from 1pm on Saturday 30th January at SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, near Russell Square and Euston stations.