Crackdown on gypsy camps for 3 months

Interior minister says deportations ahead as police and tax inspectors prepare to close illegal camps.

28 July 2010

THE MAJORITY of illegal gypsy camps in France will be closed within three months, the interior minister has announced.

Following a special meeting with President Sarkozy, Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said that, along with shutting down the camps and deporting those staying illegally in the country, government inspectors would be sent in to check the employment and tax status of people living there.

Mr Hortefeux said France had contacted the governments of Romania and Bulgaria asking for police officers to help with the operations.

The crackdown follows riots in Saint-Aignan in the Loir-et-Cher after the death of a traveller who was killed by police pursuing him in connection with a burglary.

A statement from the Elysée Palace said that in balance the rights of travellers would also be looked at.

Currently the law obliges communes with more than 5,000 people to set aside areas for travellers, however barely half of eligible communes do so.

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