Afghan migrant: I thought France was humane until police beat me

By Yiming Woo PARIS (Reuters) - Murtaza Khademi left his home in Afghanistan and smuggled himself into France because he thought he would be safe, but this week he encountered a different side of Europe: a police operation in which, he says, he was beaten with a truncheon.

Reuters November 26, 2020 00:10:39 IST
Afghan migrant: I thought France was humane until police beat me

Afghan migrant I thought France was humane until police beat me

By Yiming Woo

PARIS (Reuters) - Murtaza Khademi left his home in Afghanistan and smuggled himself into France because he thought he would be safe, but this week he encountered a different side of Europe: a police operation in which, he says, he was beaten with a truncheon.

"The police forces had no mercy. We thought they were humane people," he said on Tuesday night near a railway station in Paris where charities were distributing food. "They are not like that at all."

Khademi was among dozens of migrants and asylum seekers who had pitched pop-up tents on a central square in the city in an organised protest intended to attract attention to their precarious living conditions.

Police in riot gear moved in to disperse the protest on Monday night. Officers tussled with protesters as they tried to drag them out of the tents.

Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin said some of the scenes were "shocking" and that officers who behaved unacceptably would be punished. Officials said though the protest was illegal so police were within their rights to disperse it.

Khademi, 27, said he was inside his tent when the police arrived and beat him with batons. He escaped, but said he left his belongings inside the tent, so now he had nothing.

From Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, he said he travelled through Pakistan, Iran, and the Balkans to reach France. He previously stayed at a migrant camp on the edge of Paris, but that was dispersed last week.

Now, he said, he moves around the streets looking for a place to bed down. Many ordinary French people were supportive, he said, but the police were hostile.

"I thought that France was a good place and that its people are European, and that's why we came here, but the immigrants were not well received," he said, speaking in Dari, one of the languages used in Afghanistan.

"We have no way back; we have to stay here and endure the situation because we have no other choice."

(Writing by Christian Lowe; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.