A fire has been reported, Sunday, June 22nd, in the Detention Center in Vincennes (Val-de-Marne), where foreigners without papers face expulsion, according to police sources and defense associations for foreigners. The incident was reported in the afternoon and has destroyed two buildings at the center, the most important in France. The 280 detainees were able to be evacuated in time, but many people have been injured, mostly from asphyxiation. Some of those held benefited from the confusion created by the evacuation by fleeing. Sunday night, the prefecture of police was indicating that 50 of them were missing.
According to some foreigners actually held in Vincennes, the fire is linked to a riot which escalated in the middle of the afternoon. It would be notably linked to the heart attack death of a Tunisian without papers, Saturday, at the detention center. This story seems corroborated by the prefecture of police, who mentioned a "voluntary" fire and the "simultaneous setting of fires in the two buildings of the center".
The death of this 41 year old Tunisian has provoked, according to the association RESF, strong emotions among detainees at the center, while the police are assuring that the victim did not suffer from any violence. A report has been opened, but the autopsy on Sunday has not, according to the prefecture, revealed anything abnormal.
A collective of foreigners without papers had called for a protest in front of the building on Sunday afternoon. It is not known if this protest is related to the fire. The detention centers are overcrowded and the tension there will be higher and higher, according to the organizations in defense of foreigners, which are pointing to the "cruel, brutal, and inhumane politics" led by the government.