Friday, August 6th, 2010


 

Film shows pregnant African woman dragged away by police in north of Paris

By John Lichfield in Paris

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

A video showing French police dragging immigrant women and children away from a protest squat has sharpened accusations that President Nicolas Sarkozy has made a cynical turn towards the authoritarian right.

Although police insist that the disturbing footage is misleading, the film of the apparently brutal arrests north of Paris last month coincides with a noisy campaign by the floundering Mr Sarkozy to revive his image as a politician tough on crime and immigration.

In the video, posted on YouTube, DailyMotion and other sites, a pregnant African woman is seen screaming as she is dragged away by police. Another woman, a baby strapped to her back, is seen being dragged along the ground by police officers.

The film was shot on 21 July at La Courneuve when police broke up a demonstration by 150 people, mostly African immigrant women, protesting against their eviction from illegal squats in a council tower block.

Although the incident passed off without much reaction at the time, homeless and immigrant support groups have used the footage to draw attention to what they say is a more violent approach – and a sense of Sarkozy-inspired immunity – among some French police officers.

The allegation comes at a time when Mr Sarkozy stands accused of launching a barrage of hardline measures to move attention away from damaging political scandals and dismal poll ratings. Although the squat arrests preceded his get-tough campaign, they took place in the same troubled estate, La Cité des 4,000, where the President once threatened to use a “Karcher”, or industrial hose, to clean out drug gangs.

Jean-Baptiste Eyrault, spokesman for the homeless pressure group Droit au Logement (DAL), said yesterday that the violence at La Courneuve showed that a “threshold” had been crossed. “Police don’t normally act like this,” he said. “I’m afraid we’re going to see more and more of this kind of behaviour. The head of state governs through the police and, in return, the police feel protected.”

A police spokesman said that the short video, which was viewed more than 400,000 times in its first day on the French site DailyMotion, had been misleadingly edited. The evacuation and arrest of the demonstrators had been mostly peaceful, the police said. The woman with a baby on her back had “thrown herself on the ground”, a spokesman said, “which meant the officers could not at first see her baby”.

Mainstream politicians were cautious about criticising the police, preferring to attack the extraordinary array of new repressive measures announced by the government in recent days. A rural riot involving French gypsies last month – following the shooting of a young French traveller by a gendarme – led to a threat by the President of mass closures of camps of Roma gypsies from Eastern Europe. He also wants to revoke the French citizenship of any foreign-born person who attacks the police.

In an aggressive speech in Grenoble last Friday, Mr Sarkozy made a direct connection between immigration and crime. He said France was “suffering the consequences of 50 years of insufficiently regulated immigration”, words which reminded his critics of the far-right National Front. On Sunday, Mr Sarkozy’s interior minister, Brice Hortefeux, said citizenship could also be stripped from those found guilty of “polygamy, female circumcision or other serious criminal acts”.

Christophe Borgel, national secretary of opposition Socialist party, said Mr Sarkozy’s attacks on crime and immigration were clearly intended to distract from the allegations of illegal financing of the President’s party raised by the L’Oréal family feud scandal last month. “The harshness of his words and the uncontrolled nature of the proposals is intended to distract from his failures … His determination to create controversy [over crime] in August is intended to mask the scandals which occupied the month of July,” Mr Borgel said.

Centre-left politicians know, however, that with less than two years to the next presidential election, Mr Sarkozy would love to switch the national debate from the economy and political scandals to crime and punishment. If the left criticises his proposals too loudly, he will accuse them of being soft on crime. Thus the video of the muscular break-up of the La Courneuve protest could help, rather than damage, the President’s strategy.

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Greetings International Facilitator and Madam Secretariat of the Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus,

I wish I could be in better spirits today in sending this communication but sadly after reviewing  this video sent form our emissary, women of all ages of Africa hearts have become harden and torn. I am requesting a report from SDRC Europe in the matters involving the French Police filmed dragging African Immigrant women & taking away their babies during a protest that occurred last week July 31 2010. Please view the video and if SDRC Europe is not aware (I know that they are), please forward this to them.

Please be advised. This video is beyond graphic. All who watch this please stand firm. I as a woman, Afrikan, and Black could only watch this once!!! And when I saw the sisters being dragged while lying on top of her babies and another dead and pregnant, I had to hold myself in my own arms for comfort. Please ask SDRC Europe if they have investigated the cause of this callous act carried out by the French authorities, who gave the orders to their police to carry out such actions in the manner in which it was handled, where are the women and children now and how can we in the Americas and elsewhere in the Diaspora assist?

This and other types of inhumane acts are taking place on our people globally because we are not protected by the Union if we are living outside of Africa. Without a strong African Diaspora government we as grassroots/community organizations are left to defend our people with varying results. In the AU as defined in its Constitutive Act, Member States must promote and protect human rights according to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Seeing the video, it appears these mothers are continental Africans so must likely their state in Africa are AU members and charges against the French authorities can be made through the AU’s , African Court Of Justice/ The African Court On Human And Peoples’ Rights.

We must strengthen the AU in an investigation of the French authorities concerning this vile matter conducted out on their people living within French boarders. Recognizing the the 25th Africa-France Summit, a two-day gathering “aimed at developing better business relations between” African and France, occurring this past April 2010 in French city of Nice were, 38 African leaders and 250 business executives gathered, discussing on “the problems of climate change, piracy, terrorism” as well as “the demand of African countries’ for a bigger say in the U.N. Security Council and the G20 forum” — All Headline News June 2 10—-, explanations must be given on how such of a inhumane act against humanity was made possible on African people in French territory.

Ambassador Francois Zimeray, France’s human rights ambassador must give an open statement concering this event and SDRC Europe can charge his office to co-lead the investigations injunction with the AU.

Our office will be sending this to the African Union in Washing D.C, New York, Addis Abba, global partners and clergy to gain awareness. Please if any sees this as a noble cause to take action, you are encouraged to do so by whatever capabilities your may have.

Most Respect

Sister Ivory Ann Black II Woletta Sellassie

Executive Secretary

Afrikan Unity of Harlem, Inc

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