Congregate 1:00pm outside French Embassy
(Nearest Tube Knightsbridge)
This demo is part of a European wide protest organized by European Network Against Racism
We the undersigned petition call upon France to stop the ill treatment towards Roma and Travellers that we have seen in recent weeks concerning the forced evictions of Roma and travellers' from camps and deporting nationals from other EU countries. The policy targets both those Roma migrants from Romania and Bulgaria residing in France, estimated at around 15,000 people, and also the French Roma and Traveller community, estimated at around 350,000 people. According to official statements, France plans to disband 300 camps over the next three months, several of which have already been broken up.
The main concern is the 'reason' provided for undertaking the measures, which has been mentioned by Sarkozy and in a number of official statements; namely the alleged criminality of Roma and travellers (theft, prostitution, trafficking, etc), which allows the French government to justify these policies in the name of 'protecting' its citizens. All relevant international organisations, including the EU, UN, Council of Europe and Amnesty International among others unanimously condemn these statements and the resulting policies as prejudice and discrimination. Such inflammatory statements provoke racist sentiments towards Roma and travellers among the mainstream population and can potentially lead to racially based violence and discrimination.
Moreover, the measures alone violate the rights of targeted groups: forced evictions from camps violate rights on housing, deportations violate freedom of movement, protection by law, equality before the law and a number of other internationally recognised rights, culminating with this racially based discrimination.The current practices of marking and collectively targeting Roma throughout Europe, and particularly in France, is being compared by many to the Nazi persecution of Roma and other groups some 70 years ago. 'Les rafles', meaning roundups, is a historically loaded term that has been used by those within Sarkozy's party itself to criticise the current crackdown, which is threatening to grow far worse.
Please sign Online petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/ITMB/petition.html
I'm writing to let you know about a demonstration that we are organising in London this Saturday outside the French Embassy (next to Hyde Park), against the recent policies of the French Government which have resulted in families with children as young as 2 weeks old being evicted with less than 30 minutes notice to gather their things and left homeless on the streets of France.
Others have been packed onto planes with no choice and sent back to their home countries. Some of the Roma have lived in France all their lives. Others came from Romania or Bulgaria when they joined the EU in 2007.
The EU of course guarantees "freedom of movement" but the French government is without foundation using the part of the legislation that expressly allows for restrictions on the right to move freely for reasons of public order, public security and public health.
The protests will be taking place simultaneously across Europe, organised by the European Network Against Racism (2: pm CET) and we are organising the UK demo in a gesture of solidarity with our friends in France in demonstrating that policies of this sort is not acceptable by any Europen leader or Nation in Europe. It will also signal visibility of the wider repression and discrimination faced by the wider Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities throughout Europe.
We have also just set up an online petition, I urge you to sign it, especially if you cannot make the demo, as will be handing it in to the embassy at the end of the rally.Here is the link: http://www.petitiononline.com/ITMB/petition.html
Please get in touch with me if you can make the protest (as I need to confirm approximate numbers with the Met police) or if you can help out in any other way, through spreading the word through mailing lists etc.
Many Thanks for all your help and support,
Irish Travellers Movement
Campaigning Against Discrimination, Promoting Inclusion, Participation and Community Engagement
0207 607 2002 / 07908433438
The Resource Centre, 356 Holloway Road,
London, N7 6PA
Watch out for our annual conference 19 November 2010
Against All Odds – New Challenges, New Solutions (full details can be found on our website from September 1