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in Nantes, a Roma camp evacuated amid controversies

Around ten families of migrants from the East lived in the dilapidated camp with very poor sanitation. JC / Le Figaro

Residents and members of a football club complained about the proximity of a migrant camp from the East illegally set up in the Malakoff district. The expulsion procedure, initially rejected by the prefecture and denounced by politicians, was activated on Friday.

Le Figaro Nantes

The few shabby caravans were evacuated on Friday morning. Same thing for the dozen families who inhabited them and lived in conditions that were, to say the least, spartan. Under the influence of an expulsion planned for November 2, the Eastern migrant slum, illegally installed in the priority district of Malakoff in Nantes, on land belonging to the City, has just been emptied two weeks later . The Loire-Atlantique prefecture, which had put the case on hold, therefore decided to take action despite the ongoing political protests denouncing the absence of a rehousing solution for Roma families.

At the beginning of the month, in a press release, two LFI deputies – Ségolène Amiot and Andy Kerbrat – elected in the Nantes metropolitan area denounced an expulsion “unworthy of a socialist town hall” who does not “does not meet our duty of humanity and fraternity towards these vulnerable people”. The environmentalist and citizen group denounced him for “unacceptable and unthinkable situation” which had generated a “disagreement recorded” with the rest of the municipal majority led by PS mayor Johanna Rolland. Political differences analyzed with bitterness by certain residents of the slum, as we have seen Le Figaro on site, Wednesday, two days before the expulsion which was then still pending. “Elected officials come for a few minutes, make a post on social networks, then leave. We suffer on a daily basis”whispered Mariama.

“Wild mechanics” and “prostitution”

The forty-year-old denounced incivility, a degraded environment and described a complicated neighborhood. Khadija, another resident of the area, echoed: “I can not stand it anymore. The waste accumulates and so do the rats.” As for the Sporting Club de Nantes, a football club whose facilities adjoin the slum, the observation was also severe. A volunteer described “the presence of excrement on the ground”of the “hygiene problems”of the “degradations” And “tire fires” which sometimes burned during certain training sessions of the 475 licensed practitioners. “A young girl came recently to register. Seeing the camp and this environment, she turned around,” reported a coach. Along the same lines, a mother confided that she had registered her son at the club but not her daughter for the same reasons. A hindrance for this neighborhood club whose vocation is “the emancipation of women through sport” and whose only adult team is female.

Contacted by telephone late Thursday afternoon, Jérémy Hadjres, the president of the club, did not mince his words on the eve of the expulsion of which he was unaware. Exasperated by two and a half years of cohabitation “difficult”he tackled the “wild mechanics”, “dogs that attack members” as well as “prostitution problems”. He also complained about the toxic fumes: “Last week, they burned copper during training which irritated the children’s lungs.” Enough to slow down the smooth running of the club. “We have a loss of members and the development of the women’s section is slowed down”, he despaired. The image of the structure was also damaged: “When we welcome opposing clubs, they wonder where they are going”he regretted, specifying that the parking lot was “stoned”. As was observed Le Figaroit is dotted with numerous holes filled with stagnant water due to the incessant rains this fall. “To protect access to our premises, huge concrete blocks have been placed at the entrance to a road, which prevents us from parking nearby or having them delivered”lamented the club president again.

The synthetic football field of the Sporting Club de Nantes adjoined the shanty town which was evacuated on Friday morning. JC / Le Figaro

A petition deemed “racist”

On November 10, the club launched an online petition to denounce cohabitation in order to “protect the club”. Closed since then, it had accumulated more than a hundred signatures in a few days. An initiative which had been criticized by certain Internet users on social networks accusing the club of “racism”. A vocabulary taken up by the two LFI deputies, who in a press release published Thursday evening, denounced “the instrumentalization of adolescents” of the club for “put pressure on the town hall”.

This posture aroused the ire of Jérémy Hadjres. “It’s political humbug and a recovery that disappoints me. We are a neighborhood club with significant diversity. We do not want to harm the Roma, just to say that cohabitation in these conditions is impossible”specified the one who highlights his dual Franco-Algerian nationality to wring the necks of the accusations made.

Complaint filings

Contacted a few days before the expulsion this Friday, the town hall of Nantes confirmed “problems of insecurity and tranquility” linked to the presence of the slum. The same difficulties as those encountered by the football club – presence of excrement, waste – were mentioned. “There were also verbal attacks and problems with dog bites”confirmed to FigaroPauline Langlois, an elected official from the neighborhood who mentioned at least two complaints filed.

“We share the ambitions of finding solutions for families and we remain mobilized to ensure the education of children”she assured, specifying that the municipality “acted responsibly” on this file. For the moment, after the expulsion this Friday morning, the prefecture could not be contacted to find out the fate of the evicted families. On social networks, several residents have already denounced the current situation.

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