A Street Named ‘refusenik’

A “Refusenik Street” was formally inaugurated this week in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles. The city Municipal Council, including its five Communist Aldermen, unanimously voted in favor of the new name in tribute to the Jewish activists” fighting for the recognition of their rights in the Soviet Union.”

The former mayor of Sarcelles, Henri Canacos, a Deputy Secretary General of the French Communist Party, and now a City Councillor, also supported the motion.

A DYNAMIC COMMUNITY

Sarcelles, with over 53,000 inhabitants, and situated in the north of Paris, has a large Jewish population. According to unofficial statistics, close to one-third of its population are Jews mainly of North African origin. The Sarcelles community is one of the most dynamic in France and observers believe Canacos, who had served as mayor for close to 15 years, lost his seat two years ago because of Jewish opposition. His support of the motion is seen as a Communist attempt to try and win over at least part of the Jewish vote.

The newly renamed street runs through the city’s center. Some 400 people, including the Communist Aldermen, were present at its inauguration.

In another move to recall the tragic fate of the Jewish refuseniks, writer Marek Halter and some 15 other Jewish activists yesterday chained themselves to the Soviet stall at an international fair. The group wanted to protest Moscow’s anti-Jewish discrimination and draw attention to the tragic fate of the Jewish refuseniks. A large crowd gathered around the Soviet stall while police sawed through the chains.

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