Beginning of the move of the Roma camp from Celleneuve to Montpellier

In Montpellier, 600 people, mostly Roma from Romania, live in slums. The largest of them, that of Celleneuve, has been evacuated since Monday April 25th. The residents will be resettled in a transitional village for 2 years.

The Celleneuve Roma camp is the largest in Montpellier. It is bordered by a large avenue, which tram line 3 passes by. It is located right next to a research and development site of the pharmaceutical company Sanofi. At the bottom, a new building with a direct view of the slum. A slum of tin and old caravans, windowless huts, littered with garbage and wrecked cars.

Since Monday, April 25, in the early hours of the morning, 62 families or 165 people, including 85 children, have been packing their bags and taking their personal belongings with them. Most are Roma from Romania from the town of Deva, near Timisoara. They have lived here for over 10 years. It’s the first morning of an operation that was supposed to last three days.

As early as Monday, 17 families, a third of the slum population, have started to leave the camp.

Eight families have already been resettled in social housing. The other families are now temporarily settling for a maximum of two years in the transitional village of La Rauze, a district south of Montpellier located between two motorways.

On site, families are accommodated in modular bungalows of 35 m2. The houses consist of two rooms for four people with running water, electricity, a kitchen, a shower and a private toilet.

They are offered joint activities to facilitate their integration, such as French lessons or assistance with dealing with the authorities.

In the project, which was initiated in consultation with Roma families and social workers, the premises are guarded by security guards. The rules of life stipulate: no alcohol in common areas, no overnight guests, no music in the evening or vehicles in the village.

Last January, 200 residents demonstrated in front of the prefecture against the construction of this village.

Residents who denounced hasty decisions made in an emergency without consultation.

Here we are between two motorways, the TGV train station, the concrete plant… And we will also settle 180 Roma, including a hundred children!

Philippe Merican Gardener on January 8, 2022

“We have nothing against the Roma, but wanting to install them between the Rauze district, which is a residential district, and that of Céreirède is absurd. It’s a very narrow strip of land, the gas line runs past it, the place is in a flood zone, the motorway bridge is blocked” explained in front of our cameras Patrice Rigault, an angry resident.

The residents are to gradually leave the village of La Rauze in the direction of more sustainable living. And in 18 months the village is supposed to close its doors.

The Celleneuve camp will be dismantled, a dismantling that will take about two months.

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