France expels 14 more Roma to Bulgaria: ministry

10th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

France expelled 14 more Roma to Bulgaria on Friday, the third group since massive expulsions of Romanian and Bulgarian gypsies started in late August, the foreign ministry announced.

"Fourteen people were flown in today from France," a ministry press officer told AFP.

"They were living in the Paris suburb of Bagnolet without an official registration," he said.

Some of the group had rented flats, while others lived in camps, he added.

"These are voluntarily returning citizens. They were approached by the French authorities, who asked them to either register or leave and they chose to leave," the official also said.

A first group of 13 Roma arrived in Sofia on August 20, followed by 11 more on August 25.

About 11 were also expected to return on September 17, the foreign ministry said.

France launched in August a controversial crackdown on illegal Roma and gypsy camps across the country, leading to hundreds of people being flown back to Romania and Bulgaria despite fierce criticism by human rights organisations.

The total number of Roma returning to Bulgaria from France was not expected to be more than 50 however, as the majority were being sent back to Romania, according to the foreign ministry.

Those who leave voluntarily receive 300 euros from the French government.

© 2010 AFP

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