DHAKA: French police have been dismantling illegal Roma camps considered as gypsy after the new Socialist government promised action on public health grounds.
Two camps near Lille were closed on Thursday morning, following similar moves in Paris and the Lyon area, reports the BBC.
About 240 east European Roma were put on a flight to Bucharest after agreeing to return to Romania voluntarily.
Critics say the Socialists are copying the mass clearances under conservative ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls said in a statement on Wednesday that court orders to remove illegal camps would be executed ‘with firmness’.
Unsanitary camps were unacceptable, he said, adding that they posed a challenge to community life in the working-class areas where they were often set up.
He stressed that he had instructed officials to consult local politicians and associations with a view to rehousing especially vulnerable people such as children and pregnant women.
Sarkozy’s demolition of illegal Roma camps and expulsions in the summer of 2010 drew protests from France’s neighbours and the European Commission.
BDST: 2117 HRS, AUG 9, 2012
Edited by Robab Rosan, Cultural Affairs Editor
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