In a subversive attempt to demonstrate the importance of immigrants to the French economy, rights groups are advocating a "no work, no consumption day" on March 1. The message is being spread on the Web, but will it work?
The idea to have a 'Day Without Immigrants' was born in the autumn of 2009, after a controversial gaffe by then French immigration minister Brice Hortefeux.
In an aside that proved embarrassing for the ruling UMP party, Hortefeux was caught on camera telling a party member of Arabic origin that, "one of you is ok but when there are many, there's a problem." Hortefeux maintained that the remark was taken out of context and was meant in jest, but it was still broadly condemned across the political spectrum.
The incident sparked the idea of having a day – March 1 – dedicated to making immigrants "invisible," as a subversive way of underlining their importance.