PARIS — French President Nicolas Sarkozy has come under attack from French opposition lawmakers and media following a host of new government proposals targeting Gypsies and immigrants suspected of crimes.
Critics said President Nicolas Sarkozy was pandering to the far-right in a bid to boost his popularity.
The interior minister defended the measures, calling them part of France's "war against insecurity."
Sarkozy said Friday that he wants to revoke the French citizenship of immigrants who endanger the life of police officers. The speech Friday in the southeastern city of Grenoble — the site of recent clashes between youth and police — was a dramatic move to the right even for the conservative leader, who has put forward a law-and-order image.
Earlier in the week, Sarkozy pushed for a change in France's immigration law to make it easier to expel Gypsies, or Roma, in the country illegally and pledged to evacuate their camps, which he called a source of trafficking, prostitution and child exploitation.
The centrist Journal du Dimanche newspaper suggested that Sarkozy was staking his claim to the anti-immigrant platform that has for decades been a mainstay of the extreme-right National Front party, in a bid to win the support of deeply conservative swaths of the population and the minority far-right.
Sarkozy's approval rating has been sliding.