France: Thousands Demonstrate Against Roma Expulsions

The sign read: " Sarkozy: It Stinks Like Vichy" photograph by Moacir

Today, more than 140 demonstrations took place in France to protest the government’s crackdown on immigrants and the recent expulsions, conducted by the Sarkozy administration, of hundreds of Roma. Demonstrators held banners, waved French flags and chanted slogans denouncing Sarkozy’s repressive “security” policies. The slogans included “Let’s stop the repression”, “No to Sarkozy inhumane policies” and “Sarkozy fascist”.

Demonstration supporting Roma's human rights in Paris on 9/4/2010 photo by Olivier Hoffschi.The sign says: "No To The Republic of Money, Cops and CEOs. Kick Sarkozy Out".

In Paris, the demonstration was led by Roma. Thousands more demonstrators rallied across France, notably in Marseilles, Lyons and Bordeaux. France opposition party, and French unions were very visible at Saturday’s demonstrations.

“The stigmatization of the Roma community was the starting point, but it has grown. It is great to see so many people who live in France unite and mobilize regardless of their nationalities,” said Laurianne Deniaud, the president of the Young Socialists.

Paris-Place De La Bastille /Anti-Sarkozy demonstration of support for Roma's human rights on 9/4/2010 photo by Olivier Hoffschir

The demonstrations today in France kicked off a week of protest organized by a collective of political parties and trade unions urging French citizens to “stand up against xenophobia and the politics of pillory”.

Nearly 1,000 Roma have been deported to Romania and Bulgaria since President Sarkozy announced the measure in July. The policy has sparked many international criticism including from the United Nations. However, the far-right parties in France and some other European countries such as Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium and Hungary are supporting and even applauding Sarkozy’s repressive and controversial policy towards the Roma community.

To find out more about the history, the struggles, the culture and live of Roma worldwide click here. To view more photographs by Moacir click here. To view the impressive photographic coverage of today’s demonstration in Paris by Olivier Hoffschir click here.


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