Ethnic Roma and French travelers have staged a protest on a major highway after hundreds were evicted from an illegal site. The French government is cracking down, vowing to close 300 campsites.
Members of France's ethnic Roma group and members of the country's native traveler minority blocked a major highway outside Bordeaux on Sunday after being evicted from a campsite near the city.
The blockade was the first major protest in the wake of a government crackdown on unauthorized sites across the country.
Protesters used cars, trucks and caravans to block the Bordeaux bypass and a bridge over the River Garonne in the southwest of the country.
Police and road safety officials said traffic in the direction of Paris was backed up for five kilometers (three miles) on a summer public holiday weekend.
The protesters blocked the bridge for some five hours, leaving to try to gain access to a sports ground. They were stopped by riot police and reoccupied the bridge for another hour-and-a-half.
Forced to leave site
The group of travelers and Roma had been forced to leave a campsite in the nearby town of Anglet, and had been denied access to an exhibition ground by authorities.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy last month announced plans to dismantle 300 unauthorized campsites within three months, following a clash between Roma, mainly of Bulgarian and Romanian origin, and police.
The raids, being investigated by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, were met with criticism from committee members at a meeting last week.
A lawmaker from Sarkozy's ruling UMP party, Jean-Pierre Grand branded the evictions "disgraceful" on Saturday, likening them to roundups of minorities during World War II.
Author: Richard Connor (AFP/Reuters)
Editor: Martin Kuebler
Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was jailed for a decade on grounds condemned as politically motivated, has applied for residency in Switzerland. He was freed in December, after German intervention.
The president of one of the world's top football clubs, Bayern Munich, has admitted to tax evasion on a larger scale than even the prosecution had claimed. He said he wanted to come clean - and avoid a prison sentence.
With a Crimea referendum less than a week away, DW asked athletes, coaches and visitors to Sochi for the Paralympic Games how they see the current crisis in Crimea.
The 28th edition of the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival is now underway, drawing tech, music and film innovators and fans from around the world to Texas. Edward Snowden and Neil Young are set to be event highlights.