Paris police clear Roma from disused railway line camp

Roma camp Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Human rights groups urged city authorities to find a solution for housing those evicted

Police have cleared hundreds of Roma people from a slum-like camp built on a disused rail line in north Paris.

More than 350 Roma people had lived in the camp on La Petite Ceinture since mid-2015. Activists said many left early ahead of the police action.

The site belongs to the national rail authority SNCF.

France has one of Europe's toughest policies towards Roma. Most live in camps that are regularly demolished and every year thousands are deported.

Amnesty International urged city authorities to find a lasting housing solution for those evicted in Paris - saying they would become homeless in mid-winter.

Hundreds of thousands of Roma - mostly from Romania and Bulgaria - have moved to western Europe since the 1990s.

The Council of Europe, the region's main human rights body, warned that evictions were "counter-productive" because they disrupted education and healthcare for Roma children.

Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland said it was crucial for French authorities to provide "adequate, alternative accommodation" for those evicted, "particularly as they have decided to take this action during winter".

France's unwanted Roma

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption France has a tough policy towards Roma immigrants

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