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Hunger Strike and Fire at Prison for Migrants in Marseille, France

At the Canet Retention Center in Marseille, a hunger strike started on Friday, September 10 to protest the conditions of confinement. While a support gathering was standing outside the CRA, a fire was triggered in the center.

Originally published by Marseille Infos Autonomes. Translated by Abolition Media Worldwide.

For three days, in the Marseille retention center, people locked up in one of the buildings have begun a hunger strike. For those who participated, the police repression has already begun (prohibition of parlor, family visited cancelled half an hour before the cancellation of their parlor, prohibition to receive tobacco…).

The testimonies also speak of Seresta and Valium (anxiolytics on prescription) distributed to control their revolt and the confinement they suffer.

Imprisoned people demand their release, especially because sanitary conditions, already unlivable, degrade more and more (no masks, no laundry, no cleaning of rooms that have been shared with COVID-positive people, some still sleep with COVID-positive people…).

Sunday afternoon, a rally was held in front of the CRA to support the demands of the strikers: the release of all prisoners and the closure of the retention centers.

During the rally, the prisoners told those in solidarity outside that there was a fire that was triggered. They also communicated that the cops did not let them go out and that they were stuck with fire. Several prisoners testify to remaining until 20h in the promenade next to the fire and that they have been threatened to be sent to other CRAs in France, far from their loved ones.

While the people from this district manifested their solidarity from their homes, aggressive policemen dispersed the gathering by threatening to shoot the flashballs.

After all these events, some strikers decided to temporarily interrupt the hunger strike. However, this morning, during breakfast, the cops did not give them food, which represents a form of obvious reprisal.

Prisoners continue to seek their release and closing all CRAs. Let’s show them our solidarity and support them to the end.

We are relaying you below some selections of the testimonials from people in the CRA during the past days:

[Testimony n. 1]

-You can tell us how it goes inside?

In fact, it’s been three days since they brought back a guy, he caught the disease, he’s positive. There are also two others. No one has come clean their places even if they were asked, they do not care about us. There is a guy who asked to take the COVID test this afternoon but they refused, they said: No you refused this morning we cannot do it. So, everyone has been doing a hunger strike since yesterday. […]

In our corridor, we are 17 people and there were already three positive cases. I think that today there are others because there are two who felt bad and remained in their rooms. My colleague sleeps in the bed next to a guy who has Covid and they have not even cleaned the mattress and removed his clothes.

[Testimony Number 2]

-You can tell us why do you strike?

Well already we did all that we could for the situation we live in. There are positive cases. You cannot imagine. […] For example, I personally, I am a father of children, I have three children. I have everything I need. It’s been 17 years since I’m here. Before that, there did not exist centers like that for people like me. It’s called a retention center, but it’s a prison. It’s a sentence.

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