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Roma families expelled from illegal camp in France

Roma families expelled from illegal camp in France
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Another illegal Roma camp has been evacuated in France, where rights activists have criticised the approach of the new Socialist government.

Police moved in to clear some 70 people from a site in the southern Paris suburb of Evry. The Roma’s worry now is what happens next.

“I don’t know what we are going to do,” said one man forced out of the camp. “We will wait for an answer from the council – somebody – I don’t know. The Red Cross is going to help us for 2, 3 or 4 days and afterwards it is going to put us out as it always does.”

“We don’t have any work where we come from,” said a Roma woman. “It is difficult there. And we are forced to come here to France to make a little money but we are not stealing. I am not criticising what people do but we are forced to live as best we can.”

Authorities said the site was cleared on safety and health grounds and that alternative accommodation has been offered.

France’s Socialists are easing work restrictions on Roma, mostly from Romania and Bulgaria. Interior Minister Manuel Valls will visit both countries to ask them to better integrate their Roma minorities.

This latest in a wave of expulsions has strong symbolic value, occurring in Evry, his traditional political stronghold. Valls, seen as one of the most right-leaning members of the centre-left cabinet, served as mayor there before entering the government.