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France Defends Its Actions On Roma Deportations

Thursday, 26 Aug 2010 07:21 AM

PARIS — With anger mounting over French deportations of Roma, top officials in the Sarkozy government have vowed to continue sending them back to Romania and Bulgaria, although they met with officials from Romania on Wednesday to coordinate strategies to aid the Roma there, The New York Times reports.

“It’s not a question of expelling Roma because they are Roma,” Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said in an interview the same day with the radio station RTL. He cited crime statistics showing a 138 percent rise in the number of Romanians arrested in Paris last year, mostly for pickpocket offenses.

His appearance was part of a concerted effort by government officials who took to the airwaves to defend planned deportations of more than 850 Roma, also known as Gypsies, and a crackdown on illicit caravan encampments. That effort coincided with Nicolas Sarkozy’s return from vacation and his first cabinet meeting during a critical period that will define his presidency and his chances for re-election in 2012.

The government focus on Roma, who number more than 15,000 in France, has been lambasted as a political tactic by Mr. Sarkozy to shore up his base support on the right.

Pope Benedict XVI has urged the French “to accept human diversity,” and in an open letter on Wednesday to European leaders, the Hungarian-born American billionaire George Soros condemned the deportations, demanding a more comprehensive strategy.

Read the entire story at nytimes.com

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PARIS — With anger mounting over French deportations of Roma, top officials in the Sarkozy government have vowed to continue sending them back to Romania and Bulgaria, although they met with officials from Romania on Wednesday to coordinate strategies to aid the Roma there, The New York Times report
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2010-21-26
Thursday, 26 Aug 2010 07:21 AM
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