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Marseille to evict 90 Roma

media Police evict Roma near Lille last year Reuters/Pascal Rossignol

France’s second-biggest city, Marseille, is to evict dozens of Roma camped out on the outskirts of the city. Rights groups have condemned the move and declared it “illogical”.

A court on Tuesday declared valid a municipal decree authorising the eviction of the familes, making up about 90 people who had previously been evicted from squats.

The decree declared that their presence is “a serious threat to public order” and Mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin, a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party.

“Those people, there are too many of them in this city, we want to them go somewhere else,” Gaudin said on Friday after media reports that individuals were collecting parking fees on a parking lot which had been abandoned by the local authorities.

But rights groups have condemned the move.

“As we stressed yesterday at the administrative court, it is completely illogical to evict people who are already living on the streets,” Philippe Dieudonné, the regional vice-president of the Human Rights League told RFI.

“It is unbearable for tourists and the people of Marseille to see the misery of these Roma living in the main square - they simply don’t want to see it. But instead of finding a solution, the police are just going to move them on.”

In July the Médécins du Monde (Doctors Without Borders) group said that the Roma in Marseille were victims of police harassment.

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