Demanding asylum from a theater? Illegal migrants try to storm iconic Comedie Francaise (VIDEO)

Demanding asylum from a theater? Illegal migrants try to storm iconic Comedie Francaise (VIDEO)
Undocumented migrants in Paris have come out to demand authorities grant them asylum. But they chose a peculiar destination to bring their request to – the historic Comedie Francaise theater, which they attempted to storm.

The protesters wanted a meeting with Comedie Francaise director Eric Ruf, believing he could get them a tete-a-tete with Interior Minister Christophe Castaner. “We are here for the [theatre’s director] appointed directly by those who give the order to chase us,” the leaflets distributed by the demonstrators said.

‘Lucrezia Borgia’ by world-famous writer Victor Hugo was in full swing in the historic mansion when crowds started flocking to the area. At about 9pm local time a few men attempted to force their way into the theatre, but were stopped by security guards, AFP reported.

Later the protesters brought reinforcements in the form of hundreds of men mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa. They again attempted to enter the building, but police responded with tear gas. The protesters didn’t disperse, but stopped trying to enter the theater, instead standing in front of the building, shouting slogans and even singing and dancing.

The rally was organized by La Chapelle debout and Sans-papiers 75, both pro-migrant groups, under the slogan ‘Papers for all’.

The organizers said that some 500 people gathered for the protest. “I've had enough, I've come here for a [legal paper],” Abdoulaye, a 35-year-old undocumented Malian cook, who has been working in France since 2011, told AFP. Another migrant, 32-year-old Abdallah from Sudan, added: “I want [legal migration] papers, a place to sleep and support.”

In April this year France adopted a controversial immigration bill that speeds up the asylum process and steps up deportations, all aimed at controlling illegal immigration. In November Interior Minister Castaner revealed the first results of such policies, saying that the number of undocumented migrants deported from the country rose 20 percent in 2018.

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