France is in the process of kicking out Roma groups at the moment and evicting travellers from the land they live on.
In France, Sarkozy and co. are playing the race card - and the anti-traveller card - very overtly and crudely in order to divert attention from the rulers' attacks. There are cop attacks everywhere on Roma and on travellers in general - over 40 evictions in just over 2 weeks. Last Sunday (15th August), in Bordeaux, French travellers (many of them travelling to sell their goods outside their normal residential area) blocked a vital bridge for several hours - this, on the day half of France return from their holidays to go to work the next day, caused a great deal of havoc. Being French, they seemed to accept the dominant divide and rule between different travellers, insisting that they were not Roma and waving the French flag. There was a fairly big confrontation with the riot cops.
In other parts of France the cops divide the Roma men from the women & kids before evicting them, causing at least one notable of the governing UMP to compare the tactic with the nazis (there are clearly divisions within the ruling class about Sarkozy - fear of provoking a dangerous opposition is uppermost in their thoughts; Obama and Merkel have been quoted, apparently, as saying they want him replaced - they want someone a bit subtler). No surprise really - the Minister of the Interior, Hortefeux, used to be in a fascist organisation as a student, and hasn't changed. Besson, the Minister of Immigration, said "France is the country in Europe which is the most respectful of the rights of foreigners".
A 70-something guy shot, and gravely injured in the stomach, 2 unarmed Roma women who were trying to burgle his house (August 5th); over 5000 people signed a petition, which seems to have been initiated by a fascist organisation - "Ligue du Midi", to have him released; he's quoted as saying, "This race must be exterminated". Most of the signatures come from neighbours in his village, but clearly there are plenty of others. The roads around are covered in graffiti: "A whole village is angry", "Free our friend Réné", Justice for you" etc.
At the moment Romania adults are paid 300 euros (kids 100 euros) to go back to Romania, but EU law means they have the right to return - so the government are thinking of changing the law, though whether the EU will allow it is doubtful.Yesterday was the 27th flight this year, and a Roumanian woman said "This is a way for the government to subsidise the airline companies". She bought a very cheap car with part of the money and is using the rest to go back to France.
A national demonstration of solidarity with the Roma is planned for September 4th.