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France

UMP party lawmaker likens Roma evictions to 'wartime roundups'

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-14

Following the latest government moves on Saturday to forcibly evict Roma people from illegal immigrant camps, a lawmaker from France's ruling UMP party, Jean-Pierre Grand, denounced the raids by saying they resembled WWII-era "roundups".

AFP - A lawmaker from France's ruling UMP party denounced Saturday the government's raids on camps of illegal Roma immigrants as disgraceful, likening them to WWII roundups.
   
Following the latest raid on Saturday in an eastern Paris suburb, Jean-Pierre Grand said the government's policy of dismantling illegal Roma camps "is turning disgraceful".
   

Roma people in France: easy target for discrimination?

The lawmaker from the southern Herault region said he couldn't help but react after learning "that the authorities, arriving very early in the morning, break up families, sending men to one side and women and children on the other, and threatening to separate mothers and children."
   
Police removed Saturday 70 Roma, including around 20 children, who had been occupying a building in Montreuil for two days. Sixteen were briefly arrested and then ordered to leave French territory.
   
Some of the Roma children gathered in the local police station along with their mothers to chant "free our fathers!"
   

“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.

Calling for the resignation of the official responsible for the raid, Grand condemned "... these methods which resemble wartime roundups."
   
France's interior minister Brice Hortefeux said Thursday more than 40 Roma camps had already been dismantled, a week after the government began its plans to get rid of 300 illegal camps and expel illegal immigrants.
   
The move is part of a broader "war on crime" announced by President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose opponents have accused him of stirring up racial sensitivities and security fears to bolster his flagging popularity.

 

Date created : 2010-08-14

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