In France, the government of President François Hollande has continued former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s controversial crackdown on illegal Roma immigrants, with a raid on a Roma camp near Lille this week. Roma, a subgroup of the Romani people, or gypsies, live mostly in illegal camps throughout France, constituting a minority of about 10,000-20,000 people. Most Roma in France are European Union citizens, usually of Romania or Bulgaria, so they do not need documents to enter the country. They are required, however, to apply for residency and work permits, which most of them do not do.
The deportation has been surrounded by controversy in France, and the European Union has criticized it. Accusations have been made that the authorities gave many Roma deportation notices without checking on their individual status, as is required by law. This would mean that the police singled Roma out based on their ethnicity. Many would call that racism. Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro went further, calling the expulsions a ‘racial holocaust’.
The continuation of the expulsions has been led by interior minister Manuel Valls, who has taken a tough stance on immigration, which is rather ironic considering he is an immigrant himself, being originally from Barcelona, Spain.
www.france24.com was used as a reference for this article