Tuesday, 8 February 2011

In France, LGBT in Lyon + Grenoble rally behind gay Senegalese man

By Paul Canning

Lyon Lesbian and Gay Pride and Grenoble LGBT group Collectif Interassociations Gay et Lesbiennes de Grenoble (Cigale) as well as SOS Racisme are holding a rally this Saturday 12 February for Abdou, a gay Senegalese man threatened by French authorities with removal.

Abdou had to flee his country because of his homosexuality two years ago. He took refuge in France with his mother (who is French) and is supporting him in the Grenoble area (his father in Senegal has rejected him) and undertook immediately to regularize his situation in order to regain a normal life. For a year he did not dare leave his house for fear of being arrested for being gay but he then came into contact with local LGBT groups.

His supporters have held three rallies in front of the local prefecture of the Isere and secured many articles about his case in the local press and national media.

As well as local LGBT groups many other associations, unions and political parties in the Rhône-Alpes region have supported him, as have many municipal and regional politicians, MP's and senators who have written directly to the prefecture.

Abdou's supporters note that during the Presidential election campaign in 2007 Nicholas Sarkozy said:
« Être persécuté en raison de sa sexualité, c'est choquant et inadmissible. La France doit faire sienne cette position chaque fois qu'un homosexuel est martyrisé parce qu'il est homosexuel » [Being persecuted because of sexuality, it's shocking and unacceptable. France is to adopt this position every time someone is martyred because he is gay.]

The supporters are asking that the Prefect of the Isere Department waive Abdou's order to leave France (L'obligation de quitter le territoire français, OQTF) and regulate "our friend" Abdou.

They say:
"Le préfet pense sans doute qu'avec le temps, notre motivation et la solidarité avec les sans-papiers va passer au second plan de nos préoccupations. Il faut qu'il sache qu'il n'en est rien!"

[The prefect probably think that over time, our motivation and solidarity with the undocumented will overshadow our concerns. He must know he is not!]

The rally is Saturday, February 12, at 14.00 hrs, Place Félix Poulat, Tram A and B
Coverage of Abdou's case on France3 TV.

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