'It's all for show': French police officers speak out on Roma evictions

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The French socialist government this summer ordered the forced evictions of hundreds of Roma gypsy families from makeshift camps set-up around several of the country’s major cities, followed by the repatriation of some of the occupants to their native Romania. The crackdown has divided government ministers and caused an outcry from Roma rights’ associations, prompting Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault to organize an inter-ministerial meeting to seek wider solutions to dissolving the illegal camps, to be held on Wednesday. Mediapart sought out the views of several police officers involved directly and indirectly in evictions of two Roma camps near the city of Lille (photo) earlier this month. “The problem isn’t solved, what we’ve done is all for show,” commented one, echoing criticism leveled at the government that the forced dismantling of the camps is doing little else than keeping the Roma trapped in a spiral of poverty. Louise Fessard reports.

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The French government this summer ordered the forced evictions of hundreds of Roma gypsy families from makeshift camps set-up around several of the country’s major cities, followed by the repatriation of some of the occupants to their native Romania.