Racial tensions came to the surface in the Paris suburb of Vitry on Wednesday (24 December) when local residents attacked a workers' hostel.
GV EXTERIOR immigrant worker's hostel with sign in Vitry area near Paris (2 shots)
LV & CU damaged EXTERIOR of building showing crumpled staircase (2 shots)
SV & CU INTERIOR damaged telephones and electricity meters (2 shots)
SV Mali inhabitants of hostel receiving meal (2 shots)
SV living quarters inside hostel (2 shots)
LV EXTERIOR immigrant workers cleaning streets (2 shots)
LV 7 CU EXTERIOR town hall with proclamation from mayor of Vitry (3 shots)
GV & SV EXTERIOR hostel in the St. Maur district
SV CU INTERIOR dilapidated dormitory (2 shots)
GV EXTERIOR hostel
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Background: Racial tensions came to the surface in the Paris suburb of Vitry on Wednesday (24 December) when local residents attacked a workers' hostel. The trouble started when 300 African workers were moved from a neighbouring suburb to Vitry. During the raid the residents, allegedly led by Vitry's communist mayor, cut telephone cables, wrecked electricity meters and used bulldozers to block entrances. The communists, who are taking a strong anti-immigration line in the forthcoming Presidential elections, have denied participation in the incident.
SYNOPSIS: The immigrant hostel in the Vitry area of Paris was the scene of a raid by local residents who objected to a recent influx of foreign workers. The immigration issue is a sensitive one in the run up to the French Presidential election in April. The raiders are alleged to have used a bulldozer to block entrances. They are also said to have cut telephone cables and wrecked electricity meters.
The trouble began when 300 workers from the African state of Mali moved to the hostel. The raid is said to have been led by Vitry's Communist mayor, Paul Mercieca. He has denied the charge, but the Communist policy on immigration in the Presidential election is hard-line.
They have called for a ban on new admissions of immigrants.
French Interior Ministry figures show there are over four million foreigners in the country, about seven-point-seven percent. The government has tried to induce the immigrants to return home with generous repatriation bonuses, but as Mr.Mercieca complains: Out of every 10 inhabitants in Vitry, two are immigrants.
Anti-racist groups have condemned the Communist immigration policy and their alleged part in the Vitry raid. The Vitry incident arose from a squabble between two municipalities over housing foreign workers, but has since taken on wider implications. As a result of the raid the immigration issue seems set to play a big part in the outcome of the April election.