French minister says more than 40 Gypsy camps have been dismantled in 2 weeks
LYON, France – LYON, France (AP) — French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux says that more than 40 illegal Gypsy camps have been dismantled around the country in the last two weeks.
He says that 700 people who were among those in the camps will be returned to Bulgaria and Romania on chartered flights.
Thursday's announcement by Hortefeux at a news conference in Lyon, in southeastern France, coincided with the expulsion of Gypsies from a camp outside Paris. BFM-TV station showed Gypsies, or Roma, in distress as their camp in Choisy-le-Roi was evacuated.
Last month, President Nicolas Sarkozy ordered a crackdown on illegal camps, calling them a source of trafficking and prostitution. He says there's no intention to stigmatize a community, as Roma groups and others contend.