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France carries out third Roma camp clearance this week

Reuters/Robert Pratta

French police evicted about 600 Roma travellers from two camps near Paris on Wednesday, the third such mass expulsion this week. Camps were cleared near Lyons on Tuesday and near Paris on Monday.

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Police descended on the two camps at Stains, north of Paris, at shortly after 7.00am and reportedly cleared them without incident.

The majority of the inhabitants had already left, having heard that the raid was to take place, according to Le Parisien newspaper.

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Later in the morning an earth-mover levelled the shacks, which have sprung up over the last few months, on an industrial site at Le Clos-Saint-Lazare and which officials declared were insanitary.

Earlier in the month Stains Communist mayor, Michel Beaumale, called on President François Hollande to organise a round-table on the Roma presence in the area, claiming that about 1,000 lived in his town and about 5,000 in the surrounding area.

On Tuesday police cleared a Roma camp at Saint Priest, near the Rhone Valley city of Lyon, while on Monday a camp at Evry, near Paris, was evacuated.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls has excited criticism in his own party and from rights groups for continuing previous President Nicolas Sarkozy’s policy of evicting Roma, mainly from Romania and Bulgaria, and offering them money to return home.

The government says that it wants to help them find work and on Wednesday sent out a official announcement that scrapped a tax on employing Romanian and Bulgarian citizens.

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