This is the moment an aggressive gang of Roma young thieves surround a middle-aged tourist near Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and took the money he just withdrew from a cash point.
Such scenes have become so common in the French capital that police last week called for the ‘systematic eviction’ of Roma. Groups of thieves, many of them teenagers, swarm around the main tourist landmarks day and night, UK Daily Mail reports. Continue…
|The middle-aged victim turns around in a fright as the thieves swarm around him|
‘They respect nobody – they just want money or anything else they can steal,’ said another tourist who witnessed the incident at the cashpoint between Notre Dame and the Louvre museum, in the 1st arrondissement.
“It might have been Easter, but the gangs were everywhere,’ she said. ‘One minute the man was making a cash withdrawal, the next he was a crime victim.
‘If the police come anywhere near the Roma, they just laugh and then run off. Areas are becoming completely lawless.’
Paris is the most popular tourist destination in the world.
|The utterly fearless gang casually try to help themselves to the horrified man’s money|
|Getaway: The Roma pickpockets look for their next victim after targeting the tourist using a cash point near Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris|
Charity and human rights groups were furious last week when a leaked police memo called for the ‘systematic eviction’ of Roma from the centre of the city.
It followed the country’s Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, saying that the travelling communities of mainly Romanians and Bulgarians ‘cannot integrate’ and should be deported.
A spokesman for Charity group Catholic Help described the note as a ‘scandal’, saying that it ‘stigmatised a poor community’ and amounted to ‘racial profiling’- something which is illegal in secular France.
But other Paris officials argued that Roma are behind most of the crime in the city, involving themselves in everything from aggressive begging to muggings and burglaries.
Gangs of young Roma, including women and children, can regularly be seen harassing tourists.
Most of them live in large shanty towns on the outskirts of Paris, but more and more are setting up new camps in central parks and squares.
Jean-Pierre Colombies, spokesman for the SNOP-SCSI police union, said Roma were constantly moving around Paris.
‘It’s musical chairs’ said Mr Colombies. ‘We chase the Roma from one place to another, from one arrondissement to the next.’
Even Stephane Le Foll, spokesman for France’s Socialist Government, appeared to back the police, saying that extremely poor communities living rough in Paris made ‘everybody extremely nervous’.
Mr Le Foll said: ‘We’re obliged to regulate all that, to be clear on all that, not to consider that nothing has happened.’
Prime Minister Valls has continued a policy started by former president Nicolas Sarkozy of razing Roma camps, and trying to deport as many of their occupants as possible.
This has led to protests from a number of human rights groups, including Amnesty International, which points out that most Roma in France are Romanian or Bulgarian and as such are EU citizens with the right to live and work in the country.
Culled from UK Daily Mail