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Paris police clear Roma camp at city's edge

Police have cleared a sprawling slum-like camp along railway tracks on the edge of Paris that housed hundreds of Roma, citing sanitary concerns.

Activist groups say some 400 people had been living in makeshift shelters at the site, but many had left before police moved in. The remaining residents left in a calm atmosphere on Wednesday morning.

Thousands of Roma, also known as Gypsies, live in shantytowns around France, often without water or electricity. They routinely face discrimination and evacuations.

Amnesty International urged city authorities to find a lasting housing solution and said those expelled would become homeless in mid-winter - or just build a new camp elsewhere.

The site belongs to the national railway authority SNCF, which refused to comment. Paris police said the camp was cleared over hygiene and safety concerns, namely the use of makeshift heaters that could spark a fire.

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