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Franciscan Brothers Denounce Immigrant Detention in Toulouse

Translated Sunday 3 February 2008, by Gene Zbikowski

Since October 2007, Franciscan monks have been protesting every fourth Tuesday in Capitol Square to condemn the conditions in which undocumented immigrants are detained.

Toulouse, by our regional correspondent.

Since October, 2007, on the last Tuesday of every month, the Franciscan monks of Toulouse, joined by increasing numbers of the faithful and non-believers, meet in Capitol Square to form a silent circle of prayer and protest against the immigrant detention centers. “We denounce the government’s imprisonment of foreigners in detention centers, when their only crime is to have to come to France to live better or to save their lives,” reads a sign laid flat on the ground.

Brother Alain, one of the group’s spokesmen, explains the meaning and aims of the singular and silent demonstration in these terms: “We act through prayer and silence, and thus invite each person to listen to the voice of his innermost being and to act to promote the respect and dignity of every human being.” In this way, the Franciscans hope to make a contribution, in their own way, to the grassroots work done by different immigrants rights associations, whose activities they praise.

They are also protesting the conditions in the detention centers. “Are these people truly so very dangerous?” they ask, and condemn the unbreakable glass, the chain link fences and the barbed wire, and the opaque barriers used to isolate the detainees in the Cornebarrieu detention center, which is right next to the Toulouse-Blagnac airport.

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