When occupying means living

18 images Created 16 Oct 2016

At the end of April 2016, a group of about 350 migrants/refugees (men, women and children) occupied a disused school in the 19th district in Paris, France. With the collaboration of one of the associations that helps asylum seekers in the city, this group began to make use of the classrooms as rooms to live and sleep, while the common spaces were used for dinning, for cultural activities and for giving french lessons for the ones who needed them. The take is part of a larger process of influx of recent immigrants, mostly Africans, to the French capital after the huge refugee camp called "The Jungle" (located in the city of Calais, northwest, in the maritime border with England) has begun to be dismantled.
Local authorities quickly repudiated the occupation, and after a court rejected defense, announced the imminent eviction of the place. After the lightning performance of some activities open to the public to share the situation, on Wednesday May 3 at dawn hundreds of people surrounded the school to express their solidarity and attempt to stop the eviction. Meanwhile, nearby, police armed a large security cordon to prevent passage to anyone who wanted to enter the perimeter after 6 in the morning. An hour later, the repression. First to the people outside, with sticks and tear gas, and then to the migrants who were resisting inside. All the latter were uploaded to the social services' buses with uncertain destinations, more than one with the risk of deportation. Later that day the posters were the only clue to tell what the space could have been, but it was not anymore. Hundreds, even thousands of people of all ages will sleep today on the streets of Paris, under bridges and avenues, while the Jean Jaures' school remains empty.
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