On the move again, but with little warning. Generations of their family are used to it. But this site near Lille in Northern France had been home for many months for these Roma travellers. Dozens of French police in riot gear raided the camp at dawn evicting around 200 people - 60 of them children - and their mobile homes from a makeshift camp near a highway. It comes after illegal Roma immigrants were forced from their homes across Paris and Lyon earlier in the week.
"I don't know, there is nowhere to go…says this woman who has a small family: "It's a problem for the children because they are little."
No temporary accommodation’s been made available for them and some of their supporters have blasted the new French Prime Minister for continuing with the previous government’s policy of repatriating illegal immigrants.
Yann Lafolie is President of ‘Ateliers Solidaires’, a group campaigning for integration. "Francois Hollande made a commitment in a letter dated 27th March to "Rom Europe": 'No expulsions without solutions'. There you go, a promise not kept.”
In 2010 Nicolas Sarkozy was heavily criticised by the rest of the EU for expelling at least 1,000 gypsies. There was even a threat to Sue France. The 20,000-strong nomadic Roma community there, who are originally from Eastern European countries - are viewed with suspicion, for being workshy street beggars and pickpocketters.
Hollande’s Interior Minister Manuel Valls defended the raids on ground of health and safety. He said the government would look again at granting aid to illegal immigrants and review the restrictions on Romanian citizens’ ability to work in France.
Written & Presented by Marverine Cole
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