Sunday, September 5, 2010
Thousands demonstrate in French cities against eviction of Roma
No to state racism. Freedom - Equality - Brotherhood for all women and men
Finally the demonstrations are there. On Saturday thousands of people in Paris and other French cities like Marseille, Lyon and Bordeaux, marched in protest against the evictions of Roma by the government. Police said about 12,000 people had demonstrated in the French capital, but organisers put the total nearer to 50,000.
Human rights, labour unions and leftist political parties took part. They accuse president Sarkozy of stigmatising minorities and seeking political gain with the security crackdown.They also say he is violating French traditions of welcoming the oppressed.Organisers said demonstrations took place in 135 cities and towns across France, and others were planned outside French embassies in capitals such as London, Brussels and Bucharest.
Nicolas Sarkozy in July announced a crackdown after a policeman was killed in Grenoble in a fight and after irregularities in the Loire valley. He said 300 'illegal' camps would be cleared and Roma would be returned to the countries they came from. About 1,000 Roma were sent back to Romania and Bulgaria last month. Officials said they were leaving "on a voluntary basis," after each adult was paid 300 euro and an additional 100 euro for each child to leave. The protesters, however, see in the measures a sort of ethnic cleansing. One of the key allegations being that people aren't being deported based on their individual cases, but simply en masse, based on their identity. Some angry protesters compared the measures to the time of the Vichy regime, during World War II, when France was expelling Jews and gypsies.
The French government asserts that the deportations are legal, because when someone legally enters from another EU-country like Romania, but after three months still has no means of subsistence, his presence.is illegal. The expulsion have been condemned nonetheless by the UN, the European Commission and the Vatican. Within the government itself there was some disagreement as well. Bernard Kouchner, the minister of Foreign Affairs and the founder of Doctors without Borders at one moment considered to resign, as he told French radio.