Several thousand people have been demonstrating in the streets of Paris to protest against a new bill to tighten immigration policies.
The law put forward by interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy would stiffen rules for immigrants already in France, introduce a quota system, and give authorities the power to cherry-pick who is allowed in.
“It’s an inhuman law,” says Gassama Mady, head of an association for the defence of illegal immigrants. “How can France pass such a law? We are deeply disappointed but we won’t give up the fight.”
President Jacques Chirac has backed the document which is subject to a parliamentary vote next week and goes before the Senate early June.
The unrest comes amid speculation Sarkozy might quit France’s conservative government plagued by the “Clearstream” scandal which apparently targetted him as a potential candidate in next year’s presidential election.
But on Saturday, the interior minister put an end to the rumours telling the prime minister he would stay on.