Roma's in France 


Part of the Rise of Populism in Europe Photo project. 


Since the 1980's immigration has been a subject of debated in the political landscape of France. Even in the recent presidential elections it was used as a political tool to mobilize people against each other, creating a common enemy to strengthen their own French identity. Most minorities in France live apart from each other, and do not feel connected to the whole. The situation of the Roma is a good example of this alienation from the other. They are being dehumanized and fundamental rights, which are a symbol for France, are denied to them. In the beginning of August 2012, a new wave of evictions took place in France and major Roma settlements in different regions were dismantled.

In the North of France, in particular in Villeneuve d'Ascq, all the Roma's houses (wooden bungalows or mobile homes) were destroyed or taken away, forcing 200 people to leave their homes without proposing any solution or resettlement plan. They were pushed out of the region as far as possible, some were even put on a plane. Most of the Roma had lived in the country for more than five years and have a European (Romanian) passport. They were now left in the streets with nowhere to go. In Fyves another evicted group is camping out near the railway. They are sleeping in tents given to them by locals out of solidarity. They are living without any basic amenities like water or sanitary facilities. There are continual police patrols around their temporary camp, which are putting a lot of psychological pressure on the group.

During his time with the Roma images of the Second World War deportations came to his mind. French people celebrate freedom,equality and fraternity, cry never again and shed tears for wars that cost the lives of so many. Why has this sentiment changed to give room to a renewed form of fear of the other and discrimination, even exclusion?

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