• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Roma teen fights for life after vigilante attack

AFP/The Local · 17 Jun 2014, 08:28

Published: 17 Jun 2014 08:28 GMT+02:00

A gruesome vigilante assault on a Roma teenager who is now fighting for his life has shocked France, with President Francois Hollande dubbing the savage beating an "unspeakable and unjustifiable" act.

Accused of robbery, the 16-year-old was dragged into a basement in a town north of Paris Friday, brutally beaten by a dozen residents of a housing estate and left unconscious in a supermarket trolley where he was later discovered.

News of the attack in Pierrefitte-sur-Seine only came to the fore on Monday, sparking widespread condemnation among the public, rights groups and the country's leaders.

In a statement issued by the presidency, Hollande asked "that everything be done to find those responsible for this attack" and Prime Minister Manuel Valls also hit out at the perpetrators of the assault.

SEE ALSO: Roma 'victims of police violence' in France

A gruesome vigilante assault on a Roma teenager who is now fighting for his life has shocked France, with President Francois Hollande dubbing the savage beating an "unspeakable and unjustifiable" act.

Accused of robbery, the 16-year-old was dragged into a basement in a town north of Paris Friday, brutally beaten by a dozen residents of a housing estate and left unconscious in a supermarket trolley where he was later discovered.

News of the attack in Pierrefitte-sur-Seine only came to the fore on Monday, sparking widespread condemnation among the public, rights groups and the country's leaders.

In a statement issued by the presidency, Hollande asked "that everything be done to find those responsible for this attack" and Prime Minister Manuel Valls also hit out at the perpetrators of the assault.

SEE ALSO: Paris cops told to purge Roma from posh area

Roma have long been discriminated against across Europe. They were killed in their hundreds of thousands by the Nazis during World War II, and even now rights organisations have warned of a spike in violence against Roma communities in Europe.

France's SOS Racisme said the attack was the "obvious result of nauseating tensions faced by our fellow citizens."

"We expect a radical change in discourse and an extremely clear denunciation of the violence they are facing," said Benjamin Abtan, head of the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement (EGAM).

An April report by Amnesty International slammed European countries for not doing enough to protect their Roma communities, singling out several nations including France.

Story continues below…

Many of France's 20,000 Roma live in extreme poverty in makeshift settlements with little or no access to basic services, such as water, Amnesty said.

The country pursues a controversial policy of forcibly evicting Roma from their camps, often paying them to return to their countries of origin, mainly Romania and Bulgaria.

Last year, French authorities evicted a record 19,380 members of the community from camps.

The issue gained international attention and sparked nationwide student protests in October after authorities took a 15-year-old Roma girl off a bus in front of her classmates during a school trip and deported her along with her family to Kosovo.

Valls, who at the time was interior minister, also came under stinging criticism a month earlier when he said most Roma in France had no intention of integrating and should be sent back to their countries of origin.

AFP/The Local (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Court could give 'depressed' French nation right to smile
Photo: Jens Bergander/Flickr

"Is it really responsible, in a depressed France, that the authorities forbid the French from smiling... (on their ID photos)"

Is Hollande's last budget target really credible?
Photo: AFP

The president says the budget is "serious" but many would disagree.

China turns to Brittany cows to feed its babies
Photo: AFP

Far east giant provides a boost for Brittany's beleaguered dairy farmers.

France's 'fake tough guy' wobbles in comeback bid
Photo: AFP

The scandals are stacking up for Nicolas Sarkozy just at the wrong time.

Saudi princess 'told guard to kill Paris decorator'
Photo: Eurovizion/Flickr

"You have to kill this dog, he doesn't deserve to live," the princess allegedly said.

Paying for sex in France: New law has been 'catastrophic'
Photo: AFP

Prostitutes say new law to fine clients has been "catastrophic" but support groups say it "works well".

Only in France: 'Drive slowly - grape juice on the roads'
Photo: Rexness/Flickr

You know you're in France when...

France gives lift off to tough new drone laws
Photo: AFP

Time to crack down on drones, say French lawmakers.

Bienvenue en France: France cuts red tape for UK firms
Photo: AFP

France is ready to roll out the red carpet for UK firms quitting Britain because of Brexit fears.

VIDEO: Is life on a French café terrace really this bad?
Photo: Canal Plus

Bird poo, bums and butts: Is life on les terraces really as bad as this?

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Culture
The crazy French writing phrases you can't get your head around
Features
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Society
Take the test: How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Lifestyle
Eleven things you should know before moving to Paris
National
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
National
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Features
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
Travel
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
Culture
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
Features
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
National
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
Education
Grenoble named France's best city to be a student
Society
New Metro map reveals cheapest pints of beer in Paris
Business & Money
How reliant is the French economy on Paris?
Society
Here's why Parisians want to move to Bordeaux
And the 'best place to spend a weekend in Europe' is… Lyon
Analysis & Opinion
'Muslims in France must be considered ordinary citizens'
Armed guards to ride French trains from October
National
France among Europe's priciest for train travel
2,731
jobs available