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Protests call for closure of migrant detention centre in Marseille

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A previous demonstration calling for the closures of the detention centres
A previous demonstration calling for the closures of the detention centres   -   Copyright  El Manba/Facebook
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Dozens of people descended on a migrant detention centre in the French city of Marseille on Saturday, demanding its closure.

Undocumented migrants are being held in the administrative detention centre (CRA), where several have begun a hunger strike.

Most of the demonstrators are immigrant rights activists from Solidaires, Education Without Borders Network, or El Manba, and were responding to a national appeal by the collective SOS Sans Papiers.

They gathered in front of the centre of Le Canet in the north of the city, which is currently housing 63 people, according to the groups.

At these centres, migrants who are the subject of a deportation decision can be locked up, something which the groups fear could lead to the spread of coronavirus.

"It is all the more urgent to close the CRAs with COVID: people are sick inside and are not detected, and as the borders are blocked, they are held for months without any prospects," Philippe Chouard, a member of the Asti of Aix-en-Provence (Association of Solidarity with All Immigrants), told AFP.

"Today the majority of detainees are being imposed an IRTF (prohibition of return to French territory), which is extremely violent", claimed Solange de Preval, from the collective SOS Soutien sans papiers.

They are also protesting against hearings "by videoconference, often without a lawyer", at the administrative court, "which is a violation of the right of defence", Solange de Preval added.

On 27 March, the Council of State had rejected a request for the closure of these centres, insisting that they did not constitute "a factor in the evolution of the epidemic".