French students protest against immigrant expulsions

Thousands of French students took to the streets of Paris Thursday to protest the expulsion of immigrant families, including two teenagers.

Several of the demonstrators clashed with police during their march, but most of it reportedly took place peacefully. In some areas, students blocked the entrances to schools.

The students say the recent deportation to Kosovo of Leonarda Dibrani, a 15-year-old Roma Kosovar who was taken off a school bus by authorities in front of classmates, was unfair. French police say they were carrying out orders after her family’s request for asylum was turned down.

Another student at a Paris school, 19-year-old Khatchik Kachatryan, was deported to Armenia on Saturday.

Some Socialist lawmakers have accused the government, particularly Interior Minister Manuel Valls, of betraying leftist values by enforcing strict immigration rules.

Valls has recently come under fire for suggesting that Roma migrants living illegally in French camps should be sent back to their countries of origin.

Dibrani told VOA’s Albanian Service that she cannot speak or write in Albanian, which will make it difficult for her to complete her education in Kosovo. She said she would like to return to France and finish her schooling there.

(Manuel Valls. Photo: Clément Bucco-Lechat)