France expelled nearly 100 Gypsies, or Roma, to their native Romania on Thursday as part of a very public effort by conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy to dismantle Roma camps and sweep them out of the country, the Immigration Ministry said.The original plan had them crammed into freight trains -– but at the last minute Immigration officials remembered that’s what they did last time.
France chartered a flight to Bucharest, which left from the southeastern city of Lyon with 79 Roma aboard, Immigration Ministry officials said.
Sarkozy's crackdown on Gypsies came on the heels of much-publicized unrest by French Roma, who attacked a police station in the center of the country after the death of Gypsy youth there. The measures are also part of a raft of new hard-line security measures by Sarkozy, who won election in 2007 on a tough-on-crime platform.
The policy is attracting increasing concern, both at home and abroad, from those who fear it discriminates against one of the European Union's most vulnerable and impoverished communities.
[via Yahoo News/AP]