Roma camp of 550 evacuated outside Paris after national railway, utilities complain

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French police have evacuated a camp of about 550 Roma on the outskirts of Paris, after the national railway and the Paris utility filed complaints about dozens of shacks on their property.

According to a police statement, Wednesday morning's evacuation in Saint Ouen took place without incident, and all those whose makeshift homes were destroyed were offered temporary housing, although none accepted.

The statement said 250 people — including 70 children — were forced to leave. Another 300 left overnight after being warned of the impending evacuation.

Many Roma in France live on vacant lots, lacking running water or electricity. There are an estimated 20,000 in France, a population that remains stable despite attempts by Socialist and conservative governments to return them to their homelands, primarily in Eastern Europe.