Seven foreigners will likely be deported from France soon for their roles in the recent unrest that hit poor French suburbs, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said Sunday.
Other foreigners risk expulsion, the minister said in an interview on French television in which he came down in favor of punishment for rappers whose songs incite hate among suburban youths living on the margins of society.
Sarkozy, known for his tough law and order approach, has been criticized by human rights groups and the opposition left for wanting to deport foreigners - legal or not - who took part in the three weeks of unrest in late October and early November marked by thousands of arson attacks.
Sarkozy said on LCI television that 83 foreigners had been arrested but that 40 of them cannot be deported because of their age, their status as political refugees or the lengthy time they had spent in France. "Seven proceedings are finishing up," he said, and the seven will "likely" be expelled.