Hollande says schoolgirl may return to France after expulsion

By REUTERS
October 19, 2013 17:13

 
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PARIS - President Francois Hollande said on Saturday that a 15-year-old schoolgirl whose expulsion from France has sparked uproar could return to pursue her studies but without her family, a compromise following criticism from left-wing allies.

The outcry began after Leonarda Dibrani, whose family entered the country illegally in 2009, was ordered off a school bus by police in front of her classmates before being sent this month to Kosovo, her father's native country.

Thousands of students marched through the streets of Paris and surrounding cities on Friday demanding that she be allowed to return to France, and Socialist lawmakers warned the party was at risk of "losing its soul" with tough deportation tactics.

Hundreds of students gathered on Saturday in northern Paris to call for Interior Minister Manuel Valls to resign.

Hollande's gesture toward Dibrani, who said from Kosovo on Saturday she would not return without her family, appeared to be designed to show clemency without undermining his interior minister or offering fodder to a burdgeoning far-right movement.

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