Lyon: evacuation of Collège Maurice Scève

Press release following the evacuation of the Collège sans frontières Maurice Scève by the collective support migrants Lyon Croix-Rousse, October 28, 2020.

The evacuation of the Collège sans frontières Maurice Scève on October 27, 2020 went off without a clash with the police, which is appreciable after the violent intrusion on October 6. We regret that, for what could only have been a move, such a police deployment was necessary (preventing in particular the supporters from being on the premises), stigmatizing these young migrants as potentially dangerous, whereas they are rather endangered by the lack of State support, but we note that all the actors on the spot did their utmost to ensure that the operation was carried out in good conditions.

The collective would like to thank the elected municipal and metropolitan officials and the mediators who came to the site despite the early hour of the morning, showing their commitment to ensure that everything went as smoothly as possible.

The collective and the inhabitants also thank all the neighbors who came in large numbers to show their unfailing support and their vigilance during the day, and who, since the opening of the place, have been able to see in these young people something other than the image that some try to convey about them, and have been able to integrate them with benevolence.

We congratulate all the young people who have kept their self-control despite the general stress. They proved by their calm all the absurdity of the oversized police deployment organized by the prefecture.

The collective also underlines its commitment since several weeks to promote a good organization of this evacuation/re-housing. They were thus almost alone at work in the afternoon, with the inhabitants, so that all those present in the morning were effectively accommodated in the evening.

The figures for the accommodation are as follows:

More than 180 people have been taken care of and will be accommodated this evening in a hotel, before the more permanent accommodation we require:
– Approximately 70 people are accommodated by the State, in accordance with its regulatory obligation;
– More than 100 people, including more than sixty minors awaiting recognition of their minority, are taken care of by the Lyon Metropolis.

Unfortunately, about forty inhabitants, in a precarious administrative situation, have preferred not to cross the Prefecture’s services and find themselves today outside the accommodation facilities offered by the Lyon Metropolis.

In total, over the past year, and thanks to the commitment of all the actors, including the collective, about 300 people will have been accommodated by the State, as provided by law. We do not forget that it took two years of struggle and living in very precarious conditions to finally have this right respected. Some of the inhabitants will have lived through the bumpy road of the asylum process without ever being accommodated by the State.

We can only hope that respect for this right to accommodation will not remain exceptional and conditioned by the need to empty a building in order to carry out a real estate transaction. Unfortunately, we know that tens of thousands of accommodation places are lacking in France for asylum seekers and that after not having financed any creation in 2020, the budget only provides for 4,000 for 2021.

In line with its campaign commitments, and committed to an extra-regulatory will to protect young migrants, the Lyon Metropolis has sheltered all minors awaiting recognition and some adults. We thank it for this and call on it to continue in this direction.

We are going to ensure a follow-up of all these young people, who will be accommodated in hotels for the coming days, and then in more permanent accommodation. Solidarity will not stop with today’s evacuation.

However, the collective is asking the question of the future: the new arrivals who came to rest at the Collège after an often very difficult journey, who found human warmth there (for lack of comfort), will now have no place of relief or shelter. In the end, the Collège was a very convenient place for all the institutions that directed them there: where will they go from now on, whether they are minors or adults?

We are therefore urgently asking for a reflection with the town halls and the Lyon Metropolis, to open one or more places of welcome and relief, day and night, following the example of what is happening in other municipalities. Vacant premises exist, which could be dedicated to this welcoming and permanent accommodation, places that could function harmoniously thanks to agreements. The experiment conducted at Croix-Rousse in the squatted school showed, through the richness of the exchanges between the neighborhood and its inhabitants, all the interest of a downtown location for such places of welcoming, inserted and open to their neighborhood, contrary to the institutional arrangements so often established in the suburbs.

Finally, the collective demands that a policy based on tolerance, respect and dignity be directed towards other squatter-type accommodation, by agreement, so that living conditions there are acceptable while waiting for permanent housing.

The collective support migrants Lyon Croix-Rousse

Collège without borders Maurice Scève
8 Rue Louis Thévenet, Croix-Rousse, Lyon, France
lecollege [at] riseup [dot] net
mineur-isole-lyon [at] riseup [dot] net

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