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It is said by some that President Sarkozy was the first French leader to implement a more open border policy towards immigrants. However, many disagree and in the months preceding his term end, the overall attitude towards his economic and immigrant policy was not welcomed by French citizens or immigrants.
Evidence of this was the 2012 election of François Hollande, who promised voters he would fix the economy and treat immigrants fairly.
In Dec. 2011, I traveled to Paris and spent one month there to get a feel of what immigrants were saying about Sarkozy just months before the country was due for a new presidential election.
The results were mixed.
Some were happy to be living in Paris, while others felt he needed to do more. All agreed that police violence crimes towards immigrants needed to end, but were too scared to protest about it publicly or even be photographed or interviewed.
Most of the activists, such as the ones pictured above I met at protests were born in France. Since these photos have been taken, Paris has suffered two terrorist attacks by French citizens in 2015 and in 2016. This is not the first time French people have hurt French people. What is historic is how the attackers were framed as foreign, despite being born in the country. Despite Hollande’s attempts to please the nation, his attempts were not enough to stop anti-immigrant sentiment, which is typical of troubled economic states, that is nowalso visible across Europe.
Someday I would like to return to Paris to visit activists on-the-ground working to end police violence. If you are interested in making a contribution to my reporting in an era where international journalism has experienced drastic budget cuts, you can send donations to my paypal account at tessalenore at gmail dot com.