[ 30. Jun 2006 ]

RESF, A New Form of Resistance Against Anti-Immigration Laws

'shall we have to cut their tongue to avoid deportation?'

Over the last year, the French Ministry of Interior and running candidate for the next presidential election in France, Nicolas Sarkozy has had to back-pedal on its deportation plans in face of a new form of resistance: that of parents and teachers trying to protect children or "illegal" immigrants called "sans-papiers" (without papers).


In October last year, in face of growing demonstrations and strikes in schools around France, protests against police arresting children in school, Sarkozy had to send instructions so that pupils and their families could stay until the end of the school term. As this deadline approaches (J-4), fear has been mounting among immigrant families, but also popular discontent channelled through a network called RESF or "Reseau Education Sans Frontieres" (Learning Without Borders) that is now active in all regions in France and staging various protests and symbolic actions like "parrainage republicains" (Republican patronage).

RESF has gained recognition as small victories have accumulated over time, one of the latest being the return of Mariam Sylla and her two children from Mali as Sarkozy was embarking on a controversial tour to Mali and other African countries. A national petition of civil disobedience, claiming "we will not let them take those children, we will protect them, we will hide them from the police" has gathered over 62,000 signatures so far. Nicolas Sarkozy has managed to have his new anti-immigrant law pass with approval of "Assemblée Nationale" (Parliament) and "Sénat", but has had to issue new instructions, which have been heavily criticized, allowing some immigrant families to stay. This is a small but notable victory and many media have had to mention the issue on their front page. Sarkozy wanted to raise an electoral debate, courting Petainist France at the expense of immigrants, but this is now becoming a central opinion debate at his expense. This could spark a revival of the struggles against "fortress Europe" at large.

Further information:

Paris IMC (français):
:: RESF mobilises airport trade unions
:: A family detained in Eure dept.
:: Two children deported to Mali

Marseille IMC (français):
:: a student about to be deported - mobilise!
:: a symbolic ceremony, Lyon (français):
:: Action to free Mr Akdag from Retention center
:: A day in Villeurbanne to mobilise against deportation of children and their families

Other articles:

in English:
:: "A national petition: we will protect them"
BBC: :: French fight for illegal children
IHT: :: New French Resistance: Hiding Children
The Washington Post: :: With End of French School Year Comes Threat of Deportation
BBC: :: French fight for immigrant youths
The Guardian: :: Sarkozy forced to review plans to deport children of illegal immigrants

in Spanish:
:: Nosotros los tomamos bajo nuestra proteccion!
El Pais: :: Sarkozy tiene corazon
El Torre: :: Peligro de expulsion masiva para jovenes de familias "sin papeles" escolarizados en Francia

in German:
:: "Wir nehmen sie unter unseren Schutz!"

:: in Polish, Swede, Turkish

Source: This article was published first on 27. Jun 2006 in ::