Some 12,000 marched in Paris Sept. 4 to protest the mass expulsion of Roma migrants and other security measures adopted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government. Protests were also held in at least 135 other cities and towns across France and elsewhere in Europe. Human rights and anti-racism groups, labor unions and left-wing political parties organized the marches, which are estimated to have brought 100,000 to the streets nationwide.
Sarkozy announced in July that Roma camps would be “systematically evacuated.” Some 1,000 Roma have been flown to their countries of origin—mostly Romania and Bulgaria—since then. The latest moves comes after violence between police and youth in a suburban Grenoble housing project, and other clashes in a Traveler community in the Loire Valley. (AFP, Sept. 4)