Hundreds of demonstrators marched Saturday in Calais and Briancon in support of exiled people, demanding authorities suspend inhuman evictions of refugees during the winter season.
The demonstrations were also held to mobilize support for the activists Anais Vogel and Ludovic Holbein. The two have been on a hunger strike since Oct. 11 in Calais, demanding the state stop the daily harassment and violence of migrants.
The protests organized by various NGOs working with refugees have asked the government to suspend evictions from camps during the winter, stop confiscating tents and personal items and initiate dialogue with civil society groups permitting them to set up distribution points to provide food and medical assistance to exiled people.
The port city of Calais in the north, located across the English Channel, is a major hub for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants looking to cross into the UK.
Briancon in the southeast, the highest village in France in the Alps, is another point for migrants crossing from the Italian border.
Activists say, in Calais and Briancon exiled people are subjected to daily expulsions and forced to live in precarious conditions in tents camped on the sides of streets.
In Briancon, refugee families arrive after crossing the Alps in subzero temperatures and are turned back illegally by French police without verification.
The Medicines Sans Frontier medical charity group has set up a heated tent with a place for 50 people in the city after authorities failed to respond to demands for a “dignified reception area,” the NGO said. “Today associations and citizens are mobilizing in Briançon for the respect of the rights of exiled people and asking for a dignified and unconditional welcome in France,” MSF said in a tweet.