France shuts down illegal Roma camps and sends residents back to Romania and Bulgaria
Illegal Romanian Roma camps have been dismantled near Paris in the last two weeks and more than 700 Roma will be sent back to Romania. Some of the Roma were also from Bulgaria.
French president Nicholas Sarkozy has recently asked for these illegal camps to be tear down, calling them a source of trafficking and prostitution.
As many as 40 such camps have been closed down and their inhabitants will soon be expelled from the country with special charter courses, according to Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux. Some of the camps have been standing there for the last ten years. Most of the Roma speak French and some of the kids go to school, according to a Bloomberg report.
Sarkozy’s measures came after itinerant workers in central France burned cars and a police station July 17 following the death in a police shooting of one of them -- a 22-year-old who didn’t stop his car during a night-time identity check, according to Bloomberg.
“The rioters belonged to a 400,000-strong community of French citizens without fixed addresses who do itinerant work. In contrast, the Roma number about 15,000 in France and are recent arrivals from Bulgaria and Romania. Aid groups criticized Sarkozy for lumping together the two unconnected communities,” Bloomberg wrote.
Romanians need permits to work and live in France until 2014. “There’s no etymological link between Roma, or the people known as gypsies, and Romania, the country,” mentioned Bloomberg in its recent article.
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