7 Aug 2010

Gypsy camps being dismantled in France

10:13 am on 7 August 2010

France has begun dismantling illegal Roma (Gypsy) camps following a presidential order for hundreds of such camps to be removed.

About 100 people were moved on after police emptied a camp in the central city of Saint-Etienne shortly after dawn on Friday.

The BBC reports they had been living there in makeshift shelters and tents since May.

President Nicolas Sarkozy announced plans a week ago to shut 300 illegal camps within the next three months.

Mr Sarkozy also said members of the Roma community who had committed public order offences would be deported immediately.

The order was a response to an attack last month on a police station in the Loire Valley town of Saint-Aignon by a group of young Roma.