Far-right vigilante’s “take over” town in Hungary

29 03 2011

The Hungarian far right looks set to roll out a campaign of Roma intimidation after meeting little resistance to its vigilante “law and order” mission in Gyongyospata, a Hungarian village of 2,800 people 80km north-east of Budapest.

For A Better Future, a paramilitary organisation deriving its name from a Nazi youth movement slogan, entered the village at the start of the month. It conducted foot and car patrols, followed Roma around and stopped them from entering shops.

On March 10, the intimidation reached its peak when 1,000 black-uniformed neo-Nazis marched through the village, some reportedly armed with dogs, whips and chains.

Many Roma were afraid to leave their homes or take their children to school. The local mayor, Laszlo Tabi, who is not officially allied to a political party, allegedly offered his seal of approval, while the police sat on their hands.

“I cried when I saw them marching,” says Janos Farkas, the spokesman for the village’s 450-strong Roma community which centres around a dirt road in a shallow valley at the edge of the village. Many of the dilapidated homes do not have mains water and few of their occupants jobs.

“I can’t see how this could happen in a democratic country? The police are now present, but why did they let it go on for three weeks?” asks Farkas.

Nothing has been done to stop the vigilantes from restarting their activities here or to prevent them springing up elsewhere.

“Roma have lived here for 500 years and have always stuck to the law. Only one or two youngsters have done anything wrong,” says Farkas.

There is no evidence that even petty crime has risen in Gyongyospata, but the financial crisis has driven up the significance of people’s everyday possessions and the far right is only too happy for the chance to profit from the heightened sensitivity.

Care of Al Jazeera.  Read the full version here.





Solidarity with the Roma

5 09 2010

Massive protests have taken place across Europe against the French government’s deportation of Roma.

Al Jazeera:

Thousands of people have attended demonstrations in Paris and other French cities to protest against tough new security measures introduced by the government which they say are being used to target the country’s Roma community.

France began clearing large numbers of illegal Roma camps in July, after Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, announced a series of measures to fight crime.

Police said about 12,000 people had demonstrated in the French capital but organisers put the total nearer to 50,000.

Human rights, labour unions and leftist political parties accuse Sarkozy of stigmatising minorities and seeking political gain with the security crackdown.

They also say he is violating French traditions of welcoming the oppressed, in a country that is one of the world’s leading providers of political asylum.


BBC:

Thousands of people have attended rallies in Paris and 130 other French towns to protest at the government’s policy of deporting Roma people.

Police say turnout across France was slightly more than 77,000 while organisers put the figure nearer 100,000.

With polls suggesting at least 65% of French people back the policy, the government played down the protests.

The EU parliament is to debate the Roma situation in Europe next week.

About 1,000 Roma (Gypsies) returned to Romania and Bulgaria from France last month, while official figures record that 11,000 Roma were expelled from France last year.

The League of Human Rights, which called for the demonstrations, said it wanted to counteract government “xenophobia” and what it described as the systematic abuse of Roma in France.

The rallies were backed by the opposition Socialist Party and the General Confederation of Labour (CGT), France’s second largest trade union confederation.

‘Pushed away’

Trade unionists, students, anarchists, illegal immigrants and others turned out in Paris to the sound of whistles and drums.

The actions of the French government are nothing short of racism, targeting a under-represented impoverished minority because it is easy.  And what happens when the Roma are gone?  Who will the French government turn their attention on next as part of their nationalist agenda?

Even though I cannot physically attend the rallies, this is a declaration of solidarity with the Roma people.








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