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France

French rights groups file complaint against "Adopt a Gypsy" Facebook page

media Roma people have been targeted by a racist Facebook page. Penny Bradfield/The AGE/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

A French rights group has filed a complaint against a Facebook page that they say incites racial hatred against the Roma people. The page, “Adopt a Gypsy,” appears to have been pulled off the site, but has already reappeared once this week.

The Facebook page, featuring words and images calling for the elimination of Roma people, was created on 1 August. Its creator has not yet been identified, but this hasn’t stopped the organisation Our Road from fighting against it.

“It seems like the page was started by some sort of neo-nazi,” Our Road President Véronique Labbe told RFI. “The police said we could likely find the person from their IP address.”

Labbe and her rights group filed their complaint at the gendarmerie of Gardanne in the southeast Bouches-du-Rhone department. The Public Prosecutor’s office in Aix-en-Provence, who received the complaint, said on Friday that it was still too early to determine next steps.

The page described Roma people as “thieves,” with one image showing members of the musical group the Gypsy Kings covered in yellow stars reading “Jew.”

The account, which appears to be shut down, has pushed those opposed to create their own Facebook page against it. “For the closure of Adopt a Gypsy.com” already counts 600 people as members.

Labbe says she would like to see the some 800 people who “liked” the Adopt a Gypsy page rebuked. Until then, she thinks Facebook pages should be better monitored.

“I hope the police will look at social networks more closely, because anyone young or old can start a page or open an account and incite racial hatred against Roma people or anyone they want,” she said. “It should not be that way.”

The Facebook page is not the first time France has seen racist comments directed at the Roma population. On Monday, a mayor in central France threatened to kill himself if travellers returned to his village.

And last month, an MP was forced to resign from his party over his suggestion that Hitler did not kill enough gypsies.

 

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