Thousands of French teenagers protested for the second day over the public deportation of an Albanian-Kosovar girl and an Armenian student. The issue caused disruption in 50 schools across France.
Teenagers clashed with police, who used tear gas against the high-school students.
Students climbed bus stops and shouted demands for the interior minister Manuel Valls to leave office. According to France 24, one school became a scene of green garbage cans piled on top of each other, while above hung a banner with the words ‘Education in danger.’
The catalyst for the event was the expulsion of a 15-year-old Romani girl, a native of Kosovo. Leonarda Dibrani was forcefully taken off a school bus in front of her classmates while the group was on a trip earlier this month. The incident took place in the eastern town of Levier. Continue reading →
A week of protests in France has begun with a march in Paris in support of the Roma. An estimated 12,000, led by Roma, turned out in Paris. It was one of over 130 such demonstrations in towns and cities throughout France as protesters voiced their anger at Nicolas Sargozy’s policy which critics see as an attempt by him to revive his popularity ahead of elections in 2012.
Thousands of members of the nomadic group have been sent back to Eastern Europe in recent weeks after the French authorities intensified repatriations.
The government says it is a crackdown on crime – but there is been widespread criticism, including from the EU and UN. Continue reading →
France today deported hundreds more Roma in defiance of growing domestic and international criticism of its crackdown on travelling minorities. Two specially chartered planes carrying Roma men, women and children left Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport and Lyon in east-central France and touched down
in Bucharest mid-afternoon. “The police told us we could choose between leaving now, on our own accord, or be expelled by force later,” said one young Roma man, who declined to be identified. “So we agreed to leave.”
“For three months I could find no job, so I decided to come back to Romania,” another man arriving in Bucharest, Ion Stancu, 52, told AFP. “But, my God, what will I do for a living now, with eight grandsons to feed?” he added, tears in his eyes. Amid a country-wide crackdown that began this month after Gypsies attacked a police station, police in the northern French city of Lille also moved in at dawn to dismantle a Roma tent camp set up under an overhead railway line. Continue reading →
French police evacuate a Roma camp near Grenoble. Photograph: Marc GREINER/PHOTOPQR/LE DAUPHINE
Nicolas Sarkozy’s programme of expulsion gathers pace as fear and resignation spreads among Marseille’s immigrants
Outside No 431, rue de Lyon, the Mediterranean sun beat down on the pavement and an old man lay in wait for the police. Inside, behind the long grass and a dilapidated green gate, the women were preparing themselves for the worst. “We are getting things ready,” one explained, pointing at a half-packed suitcase. In among the ramshackle sheds and squealing toddlers, they took turns at holding a six-week-old baby in their arms.
Today, as the French government pushed forward with its mission to rid the country of foreign Roma it deems to be living there illegally, Marseille’s most marginalised community was in the grip of both fear and resignation: fear because the authorities have in recent weeks ratcheted up the pressure, and resignation because, after years of repeated expulsions and unrelenting social isolation, many of them have seen it all before. Continue reading →