The Utopia 56 association, which helps migrants in France, broadcast images on which a policeman sprays tear gas on the belongings of several homeless people at the foot of the Stalingrad metro station, in the 19th arrondissement of Paris.A policeman gassing homeless people’s belongings, according to the Utopia 56 association. (UTOPIA 56 / SCREEN CAPTURE)
The scene takes place near the Stalingrad metro station, in the 19th arrondissement of Paris, where just under 100 homeless people (SDF) live. Utopia 56 shared Thursday evening on social networks a “rare” image but which illustrates, according to the humanitarian association, “regular practices” of the police: a CRS spraying tear gas on the personal effects of several homeless people , rendering them unusable.
Most of these homeless people are asylum seekers, assures Utopia 56, one of whose volunteers is filming the scene. The association which helps migrants has contacted the Defender of Rights and intends to contact the General Inspectorate of the National Police (IGPN).
À l'instant, des CRS gazent les couvertures et les effets personnels de demandeurs d'asile à la rue près du métro Stalingrad à Paris. Si ces pratiques sont régulières, il est rare d'en avoir la preuve. Nous entamons des poursuites. pic.twitter.com/ketFQjqc6Q
— Utopia 56 (@Utopia_56) March 9, 2023
“Two days earlier, we had made a large distribution of emergency equipment, including blankets”
“In this video, you see a CRS spraying tear gas on the blankets, mattresses and personal belongings of two asylum seekers who are surviving on the streets”, explains Nicolai Posner, coordinator in Paris for Utopia 56. This volunteer is not the one who filmed the scene. For the association, there is no doubt either about the identity of the alleged victims, or about those of the suspects. “We intervene daily on these camps”, explains Nicolai Posner. “Two days earlier, we had made a large distribution of emergency equipment, including blankets, and what to survive in the street. So we know these people well, says the volunteer. Then, for the police, there “There were three CRS trucks there. Then a discussion started between the volunteers [from Utopia 56] and the CRS who were there. So there’s no real doubt.”
This “rare” scene filmed by Utopia 56 comes for the association to corroborate “testimonies that we have had for years of people who have their belongings gassed, or who are gassed while sleeping on the floor, or who are gas directly in their tents”, continues Nicolai Posner.
“Today, when we received this image, we said to ourselves ‘finally! we will be able to echo the truth suffered by these people for years and years’.”
The association has noted the registration numbers and intends to seize the IGPN
A solid proof supported by the entry of the registration numbers of the police vehicles. Utopia 56 hopes that the IGPN will take up this case. Several times, the association has tried to launch the police force on investigations related to suspicions of mistreatment committed by police officers, in particular in Calais or Dunkirk. In six months, she seized the IGPN three times, in vain.
“It’s always complicated for us to talk about it with the police headquarters [of Paris]”, underlines the volunteer at Utopia 56. Nicolai Posner, coordinator in Paris for Utopia 56, seized on the other hand the Defender of rights. “At the same time, we will make a seizure of the IGPN.”