France Extends ‘Catastrophic’ Roma Crackdown
French police on Tuesday dismantled the biggest Roma encampment in the Lyon area, extending a nationwide crackdown in what the local mayor described as a human catastrophe.
Authorities said 121 Roma, 47 of them children, had been moved out of the camp on the outskirts of Lyon on the basis of a court order that they vacate the land, which belongs to a property developer.
Charity workers said the camp had, until this weekend, been home to around 180 people including several newly born babies.
The latest camp clearance followed Monday’s expulsion of 70 people, including 19 children, from a Roma camp in a surburb of Paris.
In both cases, police have moved into the camps without any arrangements being made for the occupants to be rehoused elsewhere, contrary to demands made by several government ministers and a promise President Francois Hollande made to Roma groups during his election campaign.