The small Roma community of Andrychow is living in fear since Polish far-right groups began a campaign of harassment against them.
The campaign began with a rally last month where the chant “Cyganies raus” (Gypsies or Roma out) was heard and has continued with social media and intimidation.
Roman Kwiatkowski, head of the Association of Roma in Poland, said Andrychow is the first case he has seen of an organised anti-Roma campaign in the country. “It is very dangerous,” he said. “It does not allow us to look to the future with confidence.”
Roma residents say they are living in fear.
Human rights campaigners believe the situation is being exacerbated by activists from outside the town who are being advised by the Jobbik party in Hungary on how to emulate their success.
Tamas Fodor, a Jobbik activist who was in Warsaw this month for meetings with like-minded Poles, denied his movement was giving recommendations to anyone in Poland.
“But if they see something that worked in Hungary, they can use it,” he said.
The football fans were shouting at a rally organised by Robert Winnicki, a far-right leader from Warsaw who said all the 100 or so ethnic Roma living in a town of 20,000 people should be driven out.
Jobbik’s tactic has been to hold rallies blaming Roma for crime and social grievances. They then recruit local youths into vigilante patrols, with the stated aim of protecting citizens from the Roma.
In Andrychow last month, a pregnant Roma woman was attacked as she walked in the street. Soon after, two young ethnic Poles were beaten up in what many residents assumed was a Roma revenge attack.
Anger erupted. Supporters of the local football club, Beskid Andrychow, set up a page on Facebook. It published accounts of what it said were violent attacks by Roma, and photographs of ethnic Poles it said had been beaten up. The page has now been “liked” by 14,182 people. One post read: “We’re not going to sit quietly and pretend that everything is OK. We are shouting long and loud: enough of Gypsy impunity!”
The Roma community said the patrols by football fans were still going on at weekends. They now only go out at night to get essentials from the shops, and then, never alone. One man, Rafal Strauss, said the community had started keeping their children home from school. Two Roma woman said they had heard that ethnic Poles in at least local two apartment blocks had submitted petitions to the city authorities asking that Roma neighbours be moved out – an assertion that could not be verified.
Another Roma man, Mieczyslaw Pankowski, said he was now too scared to take his seven-year-old disabled daughter for treatment in a nearby town and the family lived in fear of attacks at night: “We take it in turns to keep watch,” he said. “We’re frightened to go to sleep in case someone throws a bottle through the window.”
Party officials from Jobbik and Ruch Narodowy – an umbrella organisation for far-right groups – said that the events in Andrychow were a spontaneous, grassroots upsurge of anger. The politicians were only there to help, they said.
But they acknowledge that the example of how Jobbik grew on the back of anti-Roma sentiment may have been an influence. “I think that the organisers may have viewed certain successes in Hungary as an inspiration,” said Winnicki.
Events in Andrychow indicate that Jobbik – snubbed even by many west European far-right parties as anti-Semitic and racist – is spreading its ideology beyond Hungary’s borders, in this case to Poland – by far the biggest and most influential ex-Soviet bloc state in the European Union.
Clashes between police officers and Romani people broke out yesterday morning in the Bulgarian town of Stara Zagora. Romani people formed human chains in an effort to prevent authorities from demolishing their homes.
News server Novinite.com reports that three police officers were lightly injured and two Romani people were arrested. The demolition of a total of 55 illegally built homes in the Lozenec quarter began on Monday 21 July at 7:30 AM on the basis of a decision by Mayor Zhivko Todorov.
Town representatives said the homeowners had been advised of the demolition within the legally-established timeframe, but the occupants disagree with the destruction of their homes and decided to defend them. Romani locals erected barricades and formed a human chain, chanting “Mafia, mafia”, some even threatened to commit suicide.
Riot police intervened against them. According to the Bulgarian media, some Romani people threw rocks and rooftiles at the officers.
Three officers were lightly injured and received medical treatment at the scene. Two protesters were arrested and authorities are pressing charges against them.
The demolition of the houses was originally to have taken place in May, but according to local authorities, it had to be thoroughly prepared so that order and security could be ensured during the demolition. News server Novinite.com reports there were almost 1 000 officers at the scene and in the area around the Romani houses, as well as several ambulances and fire trucks.
The owners of the demolished homes said they will sue over the incident. They intend to turn to the European Court of Human Rights, which issued a judgment in April 2012 instructing the authorities that they could not proceed in such a violent way.
Mayor Todorov said there was no way to legalize the 55 houses because they were built on land that belongs to Borova Gora Park. A total of 30 homes were demolished on Monday, with the demolition continuing today.
NGOs such as the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee are protesting the procedure undertaken by the Stara Zagora town hall. The organizations say the state is “practicing institutional racist violence” in this case.
“The creation of homeless people does not address social problems, it creates them. The irresponsible behavior of the state will lead to more judgments against Bulgaria and in the long term will have serious consequences for all of society,” the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee said in a press release.
Euroroma, a Romani political party, called on the mayor to immediately halt the demolitions. Party supporters said they would blockade the country’s main highways if the demolitions continued.
Was bleibt. What remains
Katalog Was bleibt. What remains.
Ursprünglich veröffentlicht auf invia 1200:
„Wir fühlen uns hier wie im Gefängnis.“
„Wir sind hier mitten im Wald.“
„Wir fühlen uns absolut isoliert und verloren.“
„Wie sollen unsere Kinder von hier aus in ihre Schulen in Kreuzberg kommen?“
Statements der Romafamilien nachdem sie am 24.6.2014, dem Tag des Polizeieinsatzes zur „freiwilligen Räumung der Gerhart-Hauptmann-Schule“, per Bus in ein Erstaufnahmelager für Asylbewerber in Hohengatow gebracht wurden.
Ihre anfängliche Hoffnung auf eine Unterkunft wandelte sich innerhalb von Stunden in Verzweiflung über ihre isolierte Situation in Hohengatow.
Original ansehen noch 619 Wörter
Orea Daily – Scission Some like to pretend that a lynching is an aberration that just happens…the result of some bad people or some bad thinking. You and I know there is a lot more to it then that.
Take a look at what is described as a “vigilante” attack against a Roma youth left for dead in France last week. A sixteen year old kid was found unconscious in a supermarket grocery cart last Friday after being beaten by a dozen residents just north of Paris.
The youth, named only as Darius, suffered multiple head injuries and has been placed in an artificial coma by doctors.
The attackers claimed he had broken into an apartment.
IOL News reports:
Officials (said) the group had come looking for the youth earlier that day at the abandoned house opposite the housing project, where he was living with his family.
They took him away and locked him a basement where he was accused of breaking into an apartment, and then was beaten, they said.
The Guardian adds:
A police source suggested there were four kidnappers, but a Romanian garage owner opposite the Roma camp said his wife had warned him a group of a dozen hooded youngsters were causing trouble, according to Le Monde. A few hours later, Darius’s mother received a call made from her son’s mobile telephone allegedly demanding a €15,000 (£12,000) ransom for his safe return….
Out comes the sympathetic French President Francois Hollande who called the attack “an offense against the founding principles of our country.” Of course, Holland failed to mention the outrageous, racist policies his government has directed against the Roma, and the propaganda of fear and hate it has spewed forth.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who took a hard line on the Roma in his previous role as interior minister, also condemned the attack. More to the point, he suggested to vigilantes to let the police deal with the Roma.
Well, the authorities have been dealing with the Roma, thank you…in their own ways.
The Romeurope Association said the youth’s lynching last week was “the terrifying consequence of years of ineffective public policy and remarks by politicians, officials and journalists and media outlets that maintain and seek to harness this unhealthy social climate.”
In February the case against a 40-year-old man accused of throwing a mixture of bleach and cleaning fluid at Roma living near the Place de la République in central Paris was dismissed by a judge for lack of evidence.
In May 2013 several Gypsy families were attacked at a campsite in the north of France, and in October 2012 locals drove a group of Roma out of an improvised encampment and burned everything that remained. Local people had warned police they would be taking action against the 35 Roma.
Last year the EU warned France it could face sanctions over the treatment of its Roma community after Valls, who was then interior minister, suggested that most should be deported and France was “not here to welcome these populations”.
About 20,000 Roma families were expelled from their makeshift homes in 2013, most of them in the summer, according to Amnesty International. A new round of expulsions is expected to begin shortly, with a major Roma camp in the southern city of Marseille being dismantled on Wednesday, Amnesty said.
During the elections in Paris a member of the French National Front suggested the best way to deal with the country’s Roma population was to “concentrate” them in “camps”
SOS Racism said the attack was caused by an alarming change in attitudes towards Roma, which it added was “the clear result of the disgusting tensions into which our citizens have been plunged”.
The European Grassroots Antiracist Movement (Egam) president, Benjamin Abtan, said: “There are racist insults and attacks against the Roma that are being used with increasing frequency. We are waiting for a radical change in the way this is being addressed and an extremely clear condemnation of the violence.”
Think Progress points out,
Frequently, nationalist politicians from Europe’s right wing fringe have echoed popular anti-Roma sentiments in order to gain political clout. The arrival of thousands of Roma immigrants from Eastern Europe since 2010 has led some French to stigmatize the Roma as unwanted intruders and blame their make-shift encampments for a recent spike in crime. Politicians play on these fears and amplify xenophobia by vocally contributing to negative stereotypes about the Roma.
Notable among far-right European parties for its fiercely anti-Roma rhetoric is France’s National Front.
Led by Marine Le Pen, daughter of controversial French right winger Jean-Marie Le Pen, the National Frontswept France’s elections last month to choose new representatives for the European Parliament, the governing body of the E.U. While formerly marginal right wing parties racked up votes across the continent, the National Front’s success in France was unprecedented allowing the party to come in in first place. The party that once compared Muslim prayer to the Nazi occupation of France is unsurprisingly totally willing to stir up animosity against the Roma whenever they can. In March, a National Front candidate running for mayor in Paris said he would “concentrate” the Roma in “camps,” and described them as “an invasion of lepers.” The Roma suffered losses second only to Jews during the holocaust, with the Nazi genocide claiming as much as 25 percent of their population during the holocaust.
Anti-Roma sentiment isn’t limited to the far-right parties only starting to gain influence: it’s unfortunately widespread throughout French politics. Former conservative president Nicolas Sarkozy gained notoriety among the Roma for forcibly clearing their settlements and deporting thousands. While Hollande promised not to evict any of the Roma without a plan for their relocation on the campaign trail, deportations have actually ramped up since his socialist party took office in 2012, with 20,000 evictions occurring in 2013 alone.
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls has also publicly called for the forced deportation of the majority of Roma people living in France, claiming “there is no other solution.” A memo calling on Paris police to “systematically evict” the city’s Roma population that leaked inApril suggests Valls’ orders are being followed.
Lynchings don’t just happen.
The following is from Amnesty International.
France: Forced evictions add to climate of fear amid alleged hate crimes
The ongoing forced evictions of minority and migrant communities around France are inflammatory and further violate the human rights of the affected communities.
The apparent lynching of a Roma teenager in a Paris suburb that left him in a coma is just one of several recent alleged hate crimes against minorities that demand thorough investigations and not just condemnation by the French authorities, Amnesty International warned.
Instead, the authorities have been focusing their resources on carrying out forced evictions that crack down on Roma and other minority communities, as well as migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers.
By failing to bat an eyelid in the face of alleged hate crimes, the French authorities are incubating a climate of fear that will spawn more such vicious attacks. All those responsible must face thorough investigations and prosecutions that take into account any discriminatory motive behind the assaults,” said Jezerca Tigani, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.
In this context, the ongoing forced evictions of minority and migrant communities around France are inflammatory and further violate the human rights of the affected communities. Roma and other minorities have a right to protection from discrimination, not additional targeting by the authorities.”
According to media reports, a 16-year-old Roma boy living in a squatted building in Pierrefitte-sur-Seine (outside Paris) was reportedly kidnapped, severely injured and left in a coma late last week by around a dozen people who suspected him of burglary. Police reportedly found him unconscious and badly beaten in a trolley outside a supermarket on Friday 13 June.
The previous night, 12 June, a 26-year-old man in the northern port town of Calais allegedly shot two migrants from Sudan and Eritrea. The Sudanese man was hospitalized for his injuries, while the suspect was reportedly arrested on 15 June.
Amnesty International has not been able to verify whether the victims in these two incidents were targeted mainly or partially because of their minority background. But the organization has researched past violence and threats against minority communities in France and found that while the French Criminal Code treats a discriminatory motive as an “aggravating circumstance” and provides for increased penalties as a response to hate crimes, investigations have lacked specific procedures aimed at tackling discriminatory violence.
Under international law, the French authorities have an obligation not only to pursue the suspected perpetrators of an alleged hate crime, but also to ensure that the investigation and prosecution uncover and account for the discriminatory nature of the crime,” said Jezerca Tigani.
Besides facing an ongoing threat of discriminatory violence, Roma and migrants continue to be forcibly evicted by French authorities in violation of international and domestic safeguards.
A 200-strong Roma community in Bobigny, near Paris, and another with 400 people in La Parette, Marseille, are at risk of being evicted in the coming days. Neither community has been thoroughly consulted or offered any alternative housing.
Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are also at risk of such forced evictions. On 28 May 2014, French authorities forcibly evicted an estimated 700 migrants and asylum-seekers from makeshift camps in Calais in response to an outbreak of scabies.
Whether faced with a public health scare or alleged hate crimes, instead of resolving the issue at hand, the French authorities seem to resort to forced evictions as a backup plan. This is a dangerous and unlawful response that will only exacerbate the underlying problems and make hundreds of people homeless in the process,” said Jezerca Tigani.
An horrendous vigilante attack against a Roma teenager raised pressure on the French government for its policies toward the ethnic minority even as the president condemned the “unspeakable and unjustifiable” violence that saw the boy beaten and left for dead in a shopping trolley by the side of a highway.
The 16-year-old, known only as Darius, remains in a medically induced coma with doctors fearing he will not survive after suffering multiple skull fractures.
Anti-discrimination groups say violence in France is rising against Roma, also known as Gypsies, who primarily come from Eastern Europe and are often blamed for petty crime.
Many live in makeshift camps on the sides of roads or in vacant lots, lacking running water or electricity. Without regular documentation of their residence, they have a hard time enrolling children into school, applying for subsidised housing, getting national health care or finding permanent work.
Several dozen Roma families in the boy’s make- shift camp in Pierrefitte- sur-Seine, a grim northern suburb of Paris, cleared out this week.
“The motive of this lynching, it was vengeance,” prosecutor Sylvie Moisson told reporters. “To practically condemn him to death is barbaric.”
Police say about a dozen young people went into the Roma camp after a series of burglaries in the area. They seized the boy, and took him to the City of Poets, as the local housing project is known.
There, police say, he was beaten unconscious, stuffed into a shopping trolley, and wheeled to the roadside.
An official close to the investigation said the teen’s mother sought help after receiving a call from his mobile phone from someone demanding ransom in exchange for his safe return.
There have been no arrests in the attack but police are questioning possible witnesses.
President François Hollande called the attack “an offence against the founding principles of our country.”
Yet some anti-racism groups say the attack is the result of years of government-supported discrimination against Roma in France.
About 20,000 Roma families were expelled from their makeshift homes in 2013, most of them in the summer, according to Amnesty International.
A new round of expulsions is expected to begin shortly, with a major camp in Marseille being dismantled yesterday, said Amnesty.
The government says the camps violate public health standards but critics say it is worse for the Roma when the camps are demolished.
“The fact that they live in camps and then they’re left without shelter, that leaves them more vulnerable and more exposed to violence,” Julie Hesloin, who has documented the issue for Amnesty said.
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Hollande condemns ‘unspeakable’ vigilante attack on Roma teen.