“The world is a dangerous place to live in; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”
(Albert Einstein – refugee from Nazi Germany)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gyöngyöspata witness

The tension that has been growing for weeks between members of Véderő -- the paramilitary extremist group -- and the local Roma has burst out.

The Civil Guard Association for a Better Future (part of Jobbik), was patrolling the town of Gyöngyöspata day and night, for over two weeks in March 2011. They reportedly prevented the Romani residents from sleeping by shouting during the night, threatened them with weapons and dogs and followed them every time they left their houses, unimpeded by local police. The desperate Roma residents were afraid to go to school, to work or even to buy food. Finally, the Szebb Jövőért Polgárőr Egyesület indicated that, having successfully established their presence in Gyöngyöspata, they will also set up chapters in other towns to expand their "patrols".

The Szebb Jövőért Polgárőr Egyesület patrols have been supported by the far-right political party Jobbik, which organised a march of thousands through the village in black military uniform on 6 March. According to the ERRC's monitoring, there were at least 48 attacks against Roma in Hungary between 2008 and 2010, which resulted in at least 9 deaths. The presence of anti-Roma vigilante groups in Roma neighbourhoods adds to growing inter-ethnic tensions and fuels a climate of violence.

(1) Gyöngyöspata witness, Jobbik guard bring fear, http://youtu.be/3sVARTmITHk

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