France: Police struggle to contain migrants amidst coronavirus outbreak

In Paris, the police are being stretched to the limit in their efforts to enforce the coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantines in the city’s migrant areas, or “no-go” zones.

In Saint-Denis, a suburb north of Paris which is inhabited mostly by immigrants, the locals largely ignore the quarantine. Many believe that the pandemic itself is a story invented by whites for the purpose of oppressing them, according to a report at Le Temps.

“They don’t understand anything,” a policeman told Le Temps. “Some of them are even saying that the virus is a fable invented by white people to force them to get off the streets.”

On the streets of Saint-Denis, where approximately 110,000 people reside, most everything is shut down, but many people still walk the streets in open defiance of the shelter-in-place order. A Le Temps journalist witnessed a group of black teenagers congregating in front of a shopping center in spite of a veiled mother, pushing her daughter in a stroller, admonishing them to go home. Others were discussing ways to falsify the documents that the police require people to carry when they go outside, which is supposed to only be for emergency reasons. They are printed in the newspapers, although the government has already published three different versions of the document since the crisis began, leading to confusion.

Breaking quarantine without a valid reason is punishable by a fine of 135 euros.

The police have said that controlling all the immigrants is impossible, so they are merely trying to deter them from violating the quarantine. Last week France’s Interior Ministry announced that 4,095 tickets had already been issued.

But the problem is not only the number of immigrants violating the government’s edicts, but also the fact that the police fear getting into an altercation with them will increase the risk that they themselves will be exposed to the virus.

Many of the immigrants are indeed wearing surgical masks, at the very least, but they are obtaining them via unorthodox means: they’re stealing them from pharmacies and hospitals, as someone named Ahmed told Le Temps. Apparently, the illicit drug trade is also continuing unimpeded in Saint-Denis. And in the suburb of Colombes, a man from Saint-Denis was recently arrested for stealing masks and hand sanitizer.

“We are not going to give up,” a policemen told reporters. “But we also know where these people live and how they live, and strict containment for them is just impossible.”

Given the lack of respect for the emergency measures being exhibited by immigrants, conservative intellectual Eric Zemmour has called for French President Emmanuel Macron to adopt harsher enforcement tactics, as previously reported by Voice of Europe.

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