— Published 30 October 2023

Activists denounce social cleansing

The wrong signal. With 271 days to go until the opening of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games on Sunday, October 29, a collective of activists chose to show their opposition to the event by projecting a luminous message onto the facade of the organizing committee’s headquarters. AFP reports that the words “Le revers de la médaille” (“The other side of the coin”) were projected late into the evening onto the facade of the Pulse building in Saint-Denis, above the Paris 2024 logo and the Olympic rings. At the initiative of several dozen associations, posters were also put up around the OCOG building. They take up the IOC’s motto in a different way: “FASTER to empty the Ile-de-France of precarious populations”, “HIGHER towards the exploitation of undocumented workers”, “STRONGER in the security response against rough sleepers”, “TOGETHER let’s demand that excluded people be taken into account”. At the same time, an open letter was published by over 70 organizations, including Médecins du monde, Emmaüs France and the Ligue des droits de l’homme, warning of the risk of “social cleansing” of the streets that the organization of the Games in France would entail. This has become standard procedure for many Olympic host cities since the 1980s,” the letter suggests. To date, everything suggests that the 2024 Olympics are part of this dynamic.” The associations are particularly concerned about the dismantling of informal settlements in the Paris region, the forced displacement of homeless people, the evacuation of immigrant workers’ hostels and the ban on food distribution.