Protesters disrupt French schools in Leonarda row


Schools in Paris and other French cities are being disrupted again by pupil protests over the removal of two foreign students from France.

Protesters gathered on the French capital’s Bastille square, traditional meeting-place of the left, as some demonstrators clashed with riot police.

Divisions have appeared among the ruling Socialists over the affair.

It has emerged that the father of a Roma schoolgirl at the centre of the row lied over his asylum claim.

However, the anger in France has focused on the way Leonarda Dibrani, 15, was removed from a school bus to be expelled along with her family earlier this month. They had been living in the eastern region of Doubs for several years.

While President Francois Hollande has remained silent, his partner, Valerie Trierweiler, spoke out on Friday to question the girl’s treatment.

Protesters are calling for the resignation of Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who has defended the authorities’ tough line and takes a tough policy towards Roma immigrants in general.

The minister has cut short an official visit to the French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe in order to return to Paris, where findings of an inquiry into the handling of the affair are expected to be ready shortly.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has said the family will be allowed to return if “any fault is found” with the expulsion order.

There is also anger over the removal of Khatchik Kachatryan, a 19-year-old student in Paris who was expelled on Saturday to Armenia after being arrested for shoplifting, at which point police discovered he had entered France illegally.

School ‘sanctuary’

Thousands of students took to the streets for a second day of protests

Thousands of students took to the streets for a second day of protests-BBC

Police fired tear gas at some protesters in Paris but the demonstration in the Nation-Bastille area appeared to be passing off peacefully in the main.

Pupils partially blocked entry to as many as 20 secondary schools in Paris while allowing other pupils to enter to attend classes, the pupils’ union Fidl said.

Read more at BBC


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