Hungary: Hungarian-Roma Tensions Result in Clash in Gyöngyöspata

Last night four people were injured in a clash between ethnic Hungarian members of the far-right group Véderő and members of the Roma community in Gyöngyöspata. Tensions have been escalating in this northern Hungarian village since March. By last Friday, Véderő‘s show-off military training tipped the scales of the conflict against making peace between the local Roma and Hungarian communities.

Contradictory accounts have been published in the Hungarian media about how exactly the fight started – and neither of the communities has taken responsibility for the clash.

A Roma girl cries after arriving back home following her evacuation from the Hungarian village of Gyöngyöspata. Image by David Ferenczy, copyright Demotix (24/04/2011).

A Roma girl cries after arriving back home following her evacuation from the Hungarian village of Gyöngyöspata. Image by David Ferenczy, copyright Demotix (24/04/2011).

Gyöngyöspata Solidarity blog shared a translation of the news report [hu]. János Ladó of the Roma Civil Rights Foundation told the Hungarians had been provoking the Roma community all day and this topped with the clash:

[…] By the evening, in the middle of a birthday celebration, the provocation increased, and more and more gathered on both sides. The Roma called the police, first one patrol arrived, then more policemen.

While the crowd was gathering in the central areas of the town, some threw stones at the windows of one of the houses in the Roma neighbourhood, some 10 minutes walk from there, then assaulted a 14-year-old local Roma boy. A serious fight in the Roma neighbourhood followed; according to Ladó, some were seriously injured, he saw three. Police called for more police backup. This was also confirmed by representative of TASZ [HCLU- Hungarian Civil Liberties Union] who saw a group of police cars on the highway, on their way to Gyöngyöspata. […]

Gábor Vona, the leader of the far-right Jobbik party in the Hungarian Parliament, criticized the way in which the Minister of the Interior, Sándor Pintér, responded to the situation in northern Hungary, calling for the minister's resignation because he hadn't been able to protect the Hungarian citizens from the Roma who “keep the whole village, mostly the elderly, in constant terror.”

Egyenlítő blog reported that Mr. Vona also invited PM Viktor Orbán for a dialogue about the Hungarian-Roma relations. The blogger drew quite a radical conclusion in his post [hu]:

[…] The problem is just that along with verbal slaps there are more and more real conflicts [happening]. In the meantime, the government makes some constitution, some media law, [and] educates Europe. […] Nicely [getting] back to the [1930s]. And, sadly, every sign says the [1940s] will be following them again.

Or there's another opportunity: in two weeks from now, the security of our country could highly increase if Mr. Orbán and Mr. Pintér resigned.

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