France: Roma camps cleared out (VIDEO)


A man and children who belong to a Roma community gather near their shacks on July 29, 2010, in a camp near the French city of Lyon.


Jeff Pachoud

Police in riot gear raided a camp near the French city of Lille early this morning to evict some 200 undocumented Roma living in mobile homes near a highway, according to Reuters

Earlier this week policed raided Roma communities in Paris and Lyon, finding hundreds of undocumented Roma immigrants. Officials say the camps are unsanitary. 

So who are the Roma? 

According to the BBC they are:

• Nomadic people whose ancestors are thought to have left north-west India at the beginning of the 11th Century and scattered across Europe

• EU's largest Roma minority is in Romania - more than a million

• Many Roma in Europe are hampered by poverty, low literacy levels and discrimination

Ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy was tuff on the Roma, and critics of the new Socialist President Hollande say he's acting just like his conservative predecessor.