Web Only
October 17, 2013

French students rally for deported Roma girl

Thousands of French students speak out against the deportation of 15-year-old Leonarda Dibrani and her family.

A student has written and crossed the name of France's Interior Minister Manuel Valls as she demonstrates with other students in front of Turgot high school in Paris, on October 17, 2013. (AFP/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD)

A number of city schools in Paris were blocked Thursday after outraged high school students took to the streets to protest the expulsion of a 15-year-old Roma girl. Leonarda Dibrani was detained during a school trip and deported with her family to Kosovo after their application for asylum was rejected. 
Protesters have especially lashed out on France's Interior Minister Manuel Valls who initiated an investigation into the Dibrani family's expulsion. Valls, a well-known politician in France, only became a French citizen at the age of 20. He has been outspoken about the Roma population and believes they should be sent back to their countries of origin.
Critics online were calling on Valls to resign with the hashtag #VallsDemission (Valls Resign). Even protesters on the streets shared photos asking Valls to stop expulsions and withdraw from his position.