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On Tuesday a young Roma boy was found in a shopping cart after being beaten into a coma outside of Paris. The boy was 16-years-old and being identified only by the name Darius. He had multiple fractures to his skull and doctors are not sure if he will live. An anonymous judicial source saying the boy’s “life is in danger.”
Local officials have said the beating took place after an apartment had items stolen from a break in. A very young person witnessed the robbery and somehow a group of men became aware of a description of a boy that matched Darius’ description. He was then found, held in a locked basement, beaten and left to die in a shopping cart.
The attack was in retribution for a string of alleged robberies by the victim. The young boy recently arrived from Romania with his family and was living in an abandoned house in Paris’s troubled Seine-Saint-Denis suburb. The teenager was apparently known to police in the area and had been recently questioned a few times in connection to a string of robberies this month according to the mayor of of Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, Michel Fourcade. According to a witness who lives in the camp, over 200 new Roma arrived in the past three weeks of which the boy is thought to be one of them. After the attack, the camp was left in tatters because those living there were afraid for their lives and fled very quickly.
There are thought to be over 20,000 people of the Roma community living in France, most of which come from Bulgaria and Romania. Critics have recently been questioning the treatment of the foreigners, because, since 2013, France has evicted over 19,000 members of the community from their makeshift camps. These people are also commonly refereed to by the derogatory name, Gypsies.
This incident of a young boy being beaten outside of Paris is not the only controversy surrounding the Roma community. Last October there were student protests nationwide in France because a young 15-year-old girl was removed off her bus in front of her classmates while she was on a school field trip. Both the young girl and her family were subsequently deported back to Kosovo. Manuel Valls, the prime minister of France and former interior minister last year said many of the Roma in France were not going to assimilate into French culture and therefore should be deported to their countries of origin.
Stephane Troussel, the head of the local district council condemned the attack as “heinous” and done “in the guise of vengeance.” He continued in his speech to say that the Republic of France “owes protection to everyone,” regardless of if they live in a camp or what their original country of birth is. A civil rights group in France, called SOS Racism, has labeled the attack a “result of nauseating tensions” encountered by the citizens of France.
Apparently the attackers tried to ransom Darius, with the assailants demanding a ransom of more than $20,000. They also told the parents of Darius that if they called the police they would burn down the camp. Eventually the Roma boy was found with multiple skull fractures in a shopping cart outside and was put into a medically induced coma in a hospital in Paris.
By B. Taylor Rash