French government to consider clampdown on itinerant camps
French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced on Wednesday that he will hold a special meeting next week to discuss the possible clampdown on illegal gypsy camps, in the wake of a violent clash between police and a group of itinerants, dpa reported.
"The events underline the problems created by the behaviour of some travellers and Roma," he said.
A policeman shot dead a 22-year-old last week when he tried to flee from a checkpoint, leading his car to barrel toward two officers.
That led several dozen itinerants who had set up a camp nearby to attack a police station on Sunday and riot in the village. The incident caused damage, but no injuries.
The state of affairs in all of the country's departments will be discussed at the meeting on July 28, Sarkozy said.
He also announced the appointment of a new prefect with police experience in the department of Loire-et-Cher, where the death and riots had occurred.
His spokesman rejected allegations that Sarkozy's actions would lead the gypsy minority to be discredited.
"We do not want to stigmatize any group," Luc Chatel said.
Those responsible only happened to belong to this group, he added.
Sarkozy had previously announced that he wanted to bring the subject of security to the foreground again. Critics allege that he is thereby trying to divert attention from the Bettencourt affair, a controversial pension reform and other problems.