First planeload of expelled Roma leaves France: AFP

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A plane taking around 60 Roma expelled by France back to Romania as part of a summertime crackdown left Lyon airport on Thursday, an AFP correspondent reported.

Those on the flight have agreed to the so-called "voluntary return procedure" under which each adult is granted 300 euros (385 dollars) and each minor 100 euros.

Several flights taking around 700 Roma back to Romania and Bulgaria are due to leave France in the coming weeks after President Nicolas Sarkozy last month announced a clampdown on the minority.

© 2010 AFP

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