A group of 25 Algerians have been detained at Charles de Gaulle airport near Paris for more than three weeks. They are not permitted to leave the airport and cannot travel. The group, which includes two young children and a 78-year-old woman, has been sleeping in the transit area for weeks.
The Algerians boarded a plane in London on February 26th to return home via Paris. One of those involved told the French press, “When we got on the plane, Algerian Airlines informed us that we were not allowed to enter the country because of the British Corona type.” That is why they had to disembark in the French capital. They ended up in the transit area as a group and couldn’t leave there either.
The Consul of Algeria and the representative of Algerian Airlines visited the people. We made it clear to them that they should return home and wait for the borders to reopen, ” the Algerian embassy in Paris said. They promised that the return trip would be free. But the 25 stranded passengers refused. They want to stay in the transit area. ”
For the first two weeks, the airline paid for the group’s food. “Now it’s the airport employees who sometimes bring us food,” one Algerian said. We also got blankets, some clothes for the children and hygiene items.
Returning is not an option
For some, returning to London is not an option. Few of them want to return to Algeria permanently: “I have already left my home and worked in Great Britain.” Others say they underwent a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test especially before the flight, or even been vaccinated. “Some of us work in Algeria. One of the kids is in school,” says Hussein, who is part of the group with his wife and 3-year-old daughter.
Recently, they can go to a hotel at the airport for a shower. “The first shower was paid by Air Algerie. Now we pay ourselves: 20 euros per 30 minutes per person.”
A solution is not yet in sight, because the Algerian border remains closed and none of the 25 Algerians wants to return to London. The group is stuck.
This actually happened to an Iranian asylum seeker whose papers were stolen: he had lived for years at Charles de Gaulle Airport. This inspired Steven Spielberg to create The stationActor Tom Hanks got stuck at the Paris airport.
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