Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Royal decree on low-cut tops

Read more

DEBATE

Ukraine, The Escalation: No Stopping Putin? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Ukraine, The Escalation: No Stopping Putin?

Read more

FOCUS

Bangladesh: Textile workers' lives still at risk?

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

José Bové, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, Group of the Greens

Read more

WEB NEWS

NYPD's online campaign backfires

Read more

ENCORE!

Celebrating the Bard's birthday in Britain

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yuki Tatsumi, Senior Associate of the East Asia Program, Stimson Center

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

USA: Executions halted over drugs secrecy

Read more

  • Russia orders military drills as Ukraine moves on separatists

    Read more

  • Israel halts Middle East peace talks over Hamas deal

    Read more

  • A radio station preaching peace and love in CAR

    Read more

  • Platini: PSG in danger over Financial Fair Play rules

    Read more

  • Ségolène Royal denies banning cleavage at French ministry

    Read more

  • Afghan guard kills US doctors in Kabul hospital attack

    Read more

  • Palestinian unity deal stirs anger in Israel

    Read more

  • Video: Mayor in east Ukraine ready ‘to turn Slaviansk into battlefield’

    Read more

  • US would defend Japan in islands dispute, Obama says

    Read more

  • New far-right mayor moves to quash Paris region mosque

    Read more

  • US soldiers arrive in Poland as Ukraine crisis continues

    Read more

  • Fatah, Hamas agree to form Palestinian unity government

    Read more

  • Millions of Syrians desperately need aid, says UN

    Read more

  • Muslims in CAR pray for an escape route

    Read more

  • Madrid beat Bayern 1-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • Britain's ex-PM Blair warns against spread of radical Islam

    Read more

  • Turkish PM offers condolences to descendants of Armenians killed in 1915

    Read more

  • Gay marriage, one year on: ‘French civilisation did not crumble’

    Read more

  • Colombian president reinstates firebrand Bogota mayor

    Read more

  • NYPD public relations campaign on Twitter goes awry

    Read more

  • In pictures: Violent protests erupt in Rio

    Read more

France

Police evict Gypsies as part of Sarkozy crackdown

©

Video by FRANCE 24 , France 3

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-08

French police evicted residents of an illegal Gypsy camp in Saint-Etienne on Friday as part of President Nicolas Sarkozy's crackdown on "travelling" peoples. Police sealed off the area to prevent access by journalists and rights groups.

AFP - French police moved in Friday to clear an illegal Gypsy encampment for the first time since President Nicolas Sarkozy announced a crackdown on the minority group.
   
Officers sealed off the area around a camp in the central city of Saint-Etienne, preventing journalists and rights groups from seeing the evictions, which began before dawn and continued for several hours.
   

Roma people in France: easy target for discrimination?

Only around half of the 135 people who regularly lived in the make-shift squatter camp where the local authorities had installed water standpipes and chemical toilets were there when police arrived, having anticipated the raid.
   
But police said 44 of the camp's residents were ordered to leave France, with 10 adults and eight minors voluntarily agreeing to leave.
   
Last month, following a clash between Gypsies and police in another region, Sarkozy announced a raft of new draconian security measures, including plans to dismantle 300 unauthorised campsites within three months.
   
Critics accused the French leader of stigmatising Roma, Gypsy and Traveller minorities in a bid to recover votes lost to the anti-immigration far right in time for his re-election battle in 2012.
   

“Travelling people” (“gens du voyage”) is the legal term established in 1969 to refer collectively to nomadic communities on French territory that live in mobile homes or trailers and have both French nationality and a permit allowing them to move freely around the country.

The Roma, who come mainly from Romania and Bulgaria, are not included in this category under French law.

But an opinion poll published Thursday showed that 79 percent of voters approved of measures to dismantle the camps, and similar majorities backing other aspects of his law and order policy.
   
The government has said that Roma and Gypsies from outside France -- many, including those kicked out of the Saint Etienne camp Friday, are from Romania -- that commit crimes will be expelled back to their countries of origin.
   
However the top French official for the region said that all Roma without proper papers were being ordered to leave France.
   
"It is clear what I did this morning was in line with presidential instructions," Loire region prefect Pierre Soubelet told journalists.
   
"There have been recent instructions to ask Roma to return home. There is no future here for Roma whose papers are not in order."
   
By the afternoon many of the Roma who normally live at the camp could be seen loitering on the streets of Saint-Etienne, including in front of government buildings.
   
"They don't know where they will be sleeping tonight," said Georges Gunther, a member of the Solidarite Rom association.
   
He said French authorities had refused to talk to them Friday about the dismantlement.
   
There are estimated to be 15,000 Gypsies and Roma of Eastern European origin in France. Some live in authorised encampments, but many have moved into squatter camps or abandoned buildings.
   
Last month, a group of French Gypsies rioted after one of their number was shot dead by police during a car chase in Saint-Aignan, central France.
   
Struggling in the opinion polls, and with his government and ruling party dogged by financial scandal, Sarkozy took the opportunity to launch a series of new measures to control the travelling minorities.
   
In addition to expulsions and the destruction of camps, a squad of tax inspectors has been set up to target what Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said were the owners of "caravans pulled by certain powerful cars".
   
Shortly after launching his measures aimed at Gypsies, Sarkozy announced plans to target members of other minority groups, promising to strip French nationality from certain categories of foreign-born criminals.
   
Some on the opposition left have spoken out against what they see as unconstitutional populism, but the main Socialist opposition party has been caught off-guard and has been cautious about opposing measures that many voters approve.
 

Date created : 2010-08-07

  • FRANCE

    France to dismantle half of all illegal itinerant camps

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Sarkozy to address cabinet on 'Roma problem' amid criticism

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Outrage as Sarkozy says nomadic groups pose 'problems'

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)