Translation by Michael Laudahn:
France: Police closing down roma camp near Lille
On thursday, french police have evacuated a roma camp near the city of Lille and expelled the 200 inhabitants from their caravans. During raids in recent days in Paris and Lyon, already hundreds of immigrated Roma without valid documents were forced to leave their apartments.
Thus the new socialist government continues the policy initiatied by former president Nicolas Sarkozy, who intervened with a show of force in summer 2010 against roma, thereby harvesting criticism from the EU, the catholic church and human-rights activists.
The new interior minister, Manuel Valls, justified the raids as legal and necessary, because the improvised accommodation of hundreds of people on a limited space is a health risk. ‘Unhygienic camps are unacceptable’, he declared on wednesday.
Frequently, these camps are being established in workers’ quarters, there disturbing community life. Roma make only a small part of the population in France. But because they roam around, some of them making their living as pickpockets or by begging aggressively, they are controversial.