Paris police clear sprawling Roma camp at city's edge

AP News
Posted: Feb 03, 2016 7:07 AM
Paris police clear sprawling Roma camp at city's edge

PARIS (AP) — Police cleared a sprawling slum-like camp along railroad tracks on the edge of Paris that housed hundreds of Roma, citing sanitary concerns.

Activist groups say some 400 people had been living in makeshift shelters at the site, but many had left before police moved in. The remaining residents left in a calm atmosphere Wednesday morning.

Thousands of Roma, also known as Gypsies, live in shantytowns around France, often without water or electricity. They routinely face discrimination and evacuations.

Amnesty International urged city authorities to find a lasting housing solution and said those expelled would become homeless in mid-winter — or just build a new camp elsewhere.

The site belongs to the national railway authority SNCF, which refused to comment. Paris police said the camp was cleared over hygiene and safety concerns, namely the use of makeshift heaters that could spark a fire.