France : New Roma deportations greeted by silence
13 August 2012
“There has been hardly any reaction to the midsummer deportation of the Roma”, writes Le Monde. Two years after the wave of emotion that swept Europe in response to a similar deportation campaign conducted by France, the daily wonders why the recent evacuation of numerous Roma camps notably in Lille, Lyon and Paris has been greeted by silence. Nor has there been any outcry over the first ever deportation charter flight to Romania, which was used to transport 240 Roma on August 9.
The French daily notes that the reaction was limited to a small number of voices in “left-wing parties and civil society who timidly responded to the interior ministry initiative” by pointing out in his decision to apply judgements authorising deportation, President François Hollande has broken an election promise “not to expel Roma families who have not been offered alternative housing”.
Le Monde goes on to compare the French President’s position with the one adopted by his predecessor, which was roundly criticised at the time –
In the summer of 2010, a speech on the Roma delivered by Nicolas Sarkozy in Grenoble [in which he pledged to dismantle half of France’s illegal Roma camps] met with widespread indignation. However, today most left-wing figures have remained remarkably silent” on the issue.
For Le Monde, the feeble response is “in part” due to “political divisions in the government” and a hesitant civil society that is unsure how to react.