The 'front line' worker facing deportation from France after violent arrest

By Olivier Bertrand

Mehdi Medjahed has lived in France for 13 years, is a qualified fire safety security guard and is one of those “front line” heroes praised by French president Emmanuel Macron for working during the coronavirus epidemic. Yet when the 36-year-old was stopped by police and questioned over his immigration status, the situation not only developed into a violent confrontation, he was arrested, placed in custody and then a detention centre, and now finds himself the subject of a deportation order. Olivier Bertrand reports.

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He is one of the workers on the “front line” that the French president Emmanuel Macron likes to talk about, one of the unsung heroes who has had to continue to work despite the coronavirus pandemic. Though Mehdi Medjahed is not a nurse, firefighter or ambulance driver, he is a qualified fire safety security guard. But he is also an undocumented worker, despite having come to France from his native Algeria 13 years ago. And now he faces deportation after being arrested by police officers following a routine identity check.