News / Europe

French President: Strip Foreign-Born Criminals of Citizenship

French President Nicolas Sarkozy says foreign-born citizens should be stripped of their French nationality if they are convicted of using violence against law enforcement officials.

Mr. Sarkozy called for the crackdown Friday during a speech in the southeastern city of Grenoble, where earlier this month, rioters burned cars, torched shops and shot at police while protesting the shooting of a robbery suspect.

The French leader also said it should be tougher for children born in France to parents who are not French nationals to acquire citizenship if they have criminal records as juveniles.

On Wednesday, Mr. Sarkozy ordered police to tear down more than 300 Roma (Gypsy) camps and expel illegal Roma immigrants as part of an initiative to fight crime.

Mr. Sarkozy called the camps a source of illegal trafficking and prostitution.  He said they also exploit children and turn them into beggars.

Human rights groups call the crackdown on the Roma racist.

They say it lumps hundreds of thousands of traditionally nomadic French citizens with Roma who immigrated from Bulgaria and Romania.  Many are suspected of coming to France illegally.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, DPA and Reuters.

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