- Shen Yun
The Roma may be leaving France... but they are doing it voluntarily.
That was the message from Romania's secretary of state for integration on Thursday.
He told reporters in Paris that no official information indicated forced expulsions.
[Romanian Secretary of State]:
"As long as the official data are mentioning that this, all the returns, I mean the returns in the last days, they were voluntary returns to Romania. We have no possibility to deny, to officially deny this aspect.
On Thursday morning, the French government expelled several dozen Roma, while two more groups of Roma were expelled last week.
The crackdown has been highly criticized by NGOs and opposition parties.
One Paris archbishop spoke out.
[Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, Paris Archbishop]:
"I think there is an unhealthy climate in our society. There is a sort of exaggeration, a verbal one, between different positions, a kind of competition between the one who will be the strongest on security issues and the one who will appear most moral."
Since announcing plans in late July to demolish hundreds of illegal Roma camps in a crime crackdown, France's center-right government has repatriated over 600 Roma, mostly to Romania.
France also contends that the repatriations are mostly voluntary.
But leaving comes with a reward; each adult Roma who leaves receives 300 euros, and each child 100 euros.
Last year the country expelled 10-thousand Roma.