Roma women gesture before being expelled from France at Roissy Airport, north of Paris. The picture below shows a Roma rights activist holding a drawing depicting under-fire French President Nicolas Sarkozy. France’s crackdown on the Roma has come amid a tightening of security by Sarkozy.

A Romanian Gypsy leader has compared French President Nicolas Sarkozy to Romania’s pro-Nazi wartime leader, following the expulsion of hundreds of Gypsies from France.

Iulian Radulescu tells the Associated Press that Gypsies are being unfairly expelled from France. France has sent back about 1,000 Gypsies to Romania and Bulgaria in recent weeks as part of its crime fighting measures. Radulescu said these expulsions mean that many Gypsies are paying “for the crimes of the few.” During the regime of World War II dictator Marshal Ion Antonescu, some 11,000 Gypsies — also known as Roma — were killed after being deported from Romania.

The European Commission said it still has questions for France about its expulsions of Gypsies, despite French assurances that the minority group is not unfairly targeted. The EU statements came as activists said police raided a Gypsy camp of about 70 people near Paris. French authorities need to give more information on “a number of issues” and seek help from the EU to make sure their actions against the Gypsies, also known as Roma, are legal, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding told the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

France’s crackdown on the Roma — mostly EU citizens who lack work or residency papers — has come amid a tightening of security by Sarkozy. Sarkozy has linked Roma to crime, calling their camps sources of prostitution and child exploitation and has pledged the illegal settlements would be “systematically evacuated.” The government has stepped up a long-standing policy of rounding up Gypsies, dismantling their camps, and sending them home to Eastern Europe — mainly Romania.

But the tactics have drawn criticism from several quarters including the Roman Catholic Church. Many at the EU parliament accused Paris of targeting Roma as a group, thus contravening essential European human rights.

In the latest sweep, a camp of about 70 Gypsies from Romania was dismantled south of Paris on Tuesday, according to an association that works with the community.

Thirteen of those displaced were children who left for school as the early morning raid in the town of Fleury-Merogis was under way, said Serge Guichard, of the Association for Solidarity with Roma and Romanian Families. The displaced were in a neighboring town searching for temporary housing to avoid being sent back to Romania.

In the past, French officials have said the Roma were being treated as citizens of fellow European Union members Romania and Bulgaria — not as an ethnic group.

Reding said that despite the assurances, there were enough grounds to warrant more supervision. “The Commission services have identified a number of issues where the French authorities will need to give supplementary information and where they will need active assistance by the Commission services to ensure that their action now and in the future is fully in line with EU law,” she said.

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Romanian Gypsy leader compares Sarkozy to Nazis

Roma women gesture before being expelled from France at Roissy Airport, north of Paris. The picture below shows a Roma rights activist holding a drawing depicting under-fire French President Nicolas Sarkozy. France’s crackdown on the Roma has come amid a tightening of security by Sarkozy.

A Romanian Gypsy leader has compared French President Nicolas Sarkozy to Romania’s pro-Nazi wartime leader, following the expulsion of hundreds of Gypsies from France.

Iulian Radulescu tells the Associated Press that Gypsies are being unfairly expelled from France. France has sent back about 1,000 Gypsies to Romania and Bulgaria in recent weeks as part of its crime fighting measures. Radulescu said these expulsions mean that many Gypsies are paying “for the crimes of the few.” During the regime of World War II dictator Marshal Ion Antonescu, some 11,000 Gypsies — also known as Roma — were killed after being deported from Romania.

The European Commission said it still has questions for France about its expulsions of Gypsies, despite French assurances that the minority group is not unfairly targeted. The EU statements came as activists said police raided a Gypsy camp of about 70 people near Paris. French authorities need to give more information on “a number of issues” and seek help from the EU to make sure their actions against the Gypsies, also known as Roma, are legal, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding told the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

France’s crackdown on the Roma — mostly EU citizens who lack work or residency papers — has come amid a tightening of security by Sarkozy. Sarkozy has linked Roma to crime, calling their camps sources of prostitution and child exploitation and has pledged the illegal settlements would be “systematically evacuated.” The government has stepped up a long-standing policy of rounding up Gypsies, dismantling their camps, and sending them home to Eastern Europe — mainly Romania.

But the tactics have drawn criticism from several quarters including the Roman Catholic Church. Many at the EU parliament accused Paris of targeting Roma as a group, thus contravening essential European human rights.

In the latest sweep, a camp of about 70 Gypsies from Romania was dismantled south of Paris on Tuesday, according to an association that works with the community.

Thirteen of those displaced were children who left for school as the early morning raid in the town of Fleury-Merogis was under way, said Serge Guichard, of the Association for Solidarity with Roma and Romanian Families. The displaced were in a neighboring town searching for temporary housing to avoid being sent back to Romania.

In the past, French officials have said the Roma were being treated as citizens of fellow European Union members Romania and Bulgaria — not as an ethnic group.

Reding said that despite the assurances, there were enough grounds to warrant more supervision. “The Commission services have identified a number of issues where the French authorities will need to give supplementary information and where they will need active assistance by the Commission services to ensure that their action now and in the future is fully in line with EU law,” she said.

Read the article on Today’s Zaman

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