FRANCE: “Black Vests” Storm the Pantheon

Translated from a post by the Jeunes Révolutionnaires (Young Revolutionaries)

For several months now with the intensification of the social struggles of this year and in response to the state’s fascism against migrants, a movement emerged known as the “Black Vests” in Paris. It is a popular movement of the undocumented: workers, homeless, isolated migrant minors, all supported by the collective “La Chapelle Debout.”

The Black Vests are demanding legal recognition of all undocumented persons and an end to their persecution. They demand the withdrawal of the asylum-immigration law of December 10, 2018 and all other anti-migratory laws. They demand humane and dignified treatment, the closure of detention centers, an end to the hunting and murdering migrants in the streets, in the Alps, in the sea, or in the Jungle of Calais.

They call for human living conditions and the freedom to work and live for all.

On July 12, 2019, the movement of the Black Vests stormed the Pantheon of Paris, a location with a strong symbolism because it represents the heart of the Republic. The spaces were occupied by upwards of 700 Black Vests. Chants, speeches, and slogans rang out in the Pantheon. “What do we want? Papers! For whom? For all!”

Inside the Pantheon

In response, the police showed up to evacuate the spaces. The migrants were pressured to leave the Pantheon but refused to be dispersed by the police in order to avoid arrests. People yelled the chant, “We stay all together, no one will separate us.”

The Black Vests are calling for an audience with Edouard Philippe to pass their demands. No response has come yet from the Prime Minister who spent his year violently repressing social movements. However, the police did not charge the migrants, not many arrests have been reported for the moment, and inside the Pantheon the cops did not show violence. The state clearly fears the masses joining the Black Vest movement and is avoiding instigating a larger mobilization.

On May 19, 2019 the movement also launched a massive occupation of the Charles-de-Gaulle Airport with the same demands. Again the chosen location had an enormous symbolism because it’s the airport where people board the plane to be deported.

Charles-de-Gaulle Black Vest Occupation

Too often one hears that the migrants cannot mobilize in a massive way. The movement of the Black Vests proves that these are merely defeatist words. The Black Vests are showing determination, tenacity, and unparalleled courage.

Comrades of the Young Revolutionaries also showed up to support the movement of the Black Vests for their action in the Pantheon.

The sole cause of the massive migrations today is French imperialism which robs and suffocates the African nations, financing and provoking civil wars in order to steal even more riches, invade more territories, oppress the popular masses even longer. The migrants flee their countries ruined by the French state risking death at sea to find themselves in detention camps, facing fascists, not having lodging, losing loved ones, or other inhumane situations because they want a dignified and humane life.

Down with French imperialism! Long live the anti-imperialist struggle! Long live the struggle of the undocumented!

The people united will never be defeated! Long live the heroic struggle of the popular masses! Long live the struggle of the Black Vests!


Outside the Pantheon. The red banner reads “The Black Vests are looking for (or are coming for) the Prime Minister”