In the summer of 1996, when French policemen stormed Paris' Eglise Saint-Bernard, evicting dozens of African immigrants and activists who had taken refuge in the church, people in both France and West Africa surged with anger. Many of those immigrants had lived in France for years, often with an ambiguous legal and bureaucratic status (hence their moniker sans-papiers, those without papers), and they had occupied the church in order to demand the regularization of their status.
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