Dozens of officers in riot gear descended on a settlement near Lille shortly after dawn to oversee the evacuation of some 200 Roma living in mobile homes.
One hundred people were evicted from a site in Lyon, with similar round-ups happening in other major cities including Marseille. Caravans and huts were destroyed in the Belleville area of central Paris on Wednesday, making another 100 people homeless.
‘Many of those evicted will be flown home to Romania,’ said an interior ministry source, who insisted the deportations were aimed at ridding France of ‘illegal’ communities.
Greece has also begun a crackdown on immigrants, with Athens claiming the country faced an ‘invasion’.The policy being pursued by France’s socialist government was formulated by former conservative president Nicolas Sarkozy, who was frequently accused of pandering to the far right.
His government linked Roma camps with crime, suggesting that many of the thieves and muggers operating in big cities were homeless Romanians.