French school students took to the streets yesterday, to protest the forced removal of a 15 year old Roma girl, who was dragged off a school bus by police in front of her class mates, prior to being deported to Kosovo.  The other expelled student was Khatchik, a 19 year old Armenian student. It appears that he was detained on his return for failing to do military service A spokesperson for the high school students' union told the UK BBC: "It's not tolerable that students with or without documents are expelled. Everybody should have a right to education, and that is why all high school students are here"

The pupils carried banners and chanted 'Bring back Khatchik and Leonarda, they belong here!' 20 secondary schools were closed in the capital, Paris, and there were demonstrations in other parts of the country as well. More secondary schools were barricaded on Friday and police attacked the protest with tear gas. A notice outside one barricaded school said, 'Leonarda and Katchik aren't in class, so nor are we.'

Under social democrat President Francois Hollande, there has been a particularly brutal policy towards Roma people, with 10,000 forced evictions, which have been condemned by human rights group, Amnesty International. The European Commission strongly criticised remarks by the Interior Minister, Manuel Valls, himself ironically an immigrant from Spain, that, "The majority [of Roma] should be delivered back to the borders. We are not here to welcome these people." The Roma people have always faced discrimination throughout Europe, not least as part of Hitler's genocidal policies, when thousands were murdered in concentration camps.

The young people blockading their schools and marching through the streets are standing by their young classmates - both of whom have had their right to education and a home taken away, Khatchik is detained and Leonarda says that there is no school for Roma in Kosovo - a country where she has never lived and whose language she cannot speak.