there is an urgent issue with Roma in Hungary where you can provide actual practical support! Please, read the message below and think if you can help anyhow, write to your local media or IndyMedia, or come to Hungary and join the group of activists in the Roma village!
Around 25 of us went to Gyöngyöspata last night - this is the town that was recently taken over by so-called local security forces, aka gárda folks, who have been threatening, harassing, following the local Roma community - around 450 people on the edge of the town.
The police is there but not really doing much. They do not enter the Roma part of town, where the gárda is marching, sometimes in the middle of the night, shouting at people, with weapons,like axes.
When we got there all the adults were standing outside their houses, guarding the place, frightened, angry, fed up. About 30mins before we got there the Gárda marched through the main street again, with weapons, chanting words of hatred. The parents grabbed their kids out of bed (around 10pm) and ran to relatives a few streets further.
Of course, when we got there there was no gárda present, except for a bunch at the store who immediately followed us as we arrived.
We were there until around 3am, talking to people, who havent slept for weeks, and told us what has been going on. Their kids are afriad to go to school and some havent been for 2 weeks now - as a result, the state can withdraw their family aid! The teachers and the director at the school are also threatening the kids, saying things like you'll all die, we'll kill you, we'll call the gárda if you dont behave. The gárda gets entry to the school and the kindergarden- which is when parents run there to take their kids. So most of them dont take them anymore. The kids cant sleep, many of them pee themselves; kids are running home after the gárda was chasing them, crying, peeing their pants, refusing to leave the house again. The whole community is terrorized.
The school is segregated. 2/3 of the students are roma and they have to study on a separate floor. In one class, there are kids from grades 1,2 and 5 in one class! they have around 2-3 subjects altogether whereas the non roma kids have all the mandatory ones. the roma kids are not allowed to go to the local pool and sports hall.
The gárda follows the roma wherever they go - to the store, the doctor, the school, EVERYWHERE, constantly harassing them. Many take out their penis in the middle of street, to scare the kids. Again, the police is standing by.
When we were there, the police was standing at the end of the main road, but the gárda mostly enters from the other side of the road, about 5mins walk away. Thats the edge of town, there are trees and bushes so they hide out there and come in to the town whenever. no one stops them. the locals run to the police who respond by saying - just behave and it will all be fine.
People are scared, angry, and more than anything fed up. It's been two weeks now and nothing has changed! It is really a matter of days now before someone is sick of this enough to react in the same way as the gárda and violence will start.... Which is exactly what the gárda is waiting for, probably...They are constantly provoking people.
The police doesnt do anything, unless (!) there is actual violence.
To cut it short, it seems like the only thing we can (after the petition to the ministry of interior, nothing has changed) do is to go and spend the nights there- looks like the police is willing to protect us, which is ridiculous. It takes 20 non-roma for the gárda to disappear and the police to be there. Ridiculous as it is, this is our only tool right now.
so we are going back in groups. The locals said there will probably be enough people today and tom, but not on f sat sun - so we need people! BAsically, on all 5 of these nights. We have a core of 30 people right now.
If you want to join, let me know and ill put u on the list. Also, let us know if you have a car and can take people. We are taking food with us, cos the locals are afraid to go to the store and they have been hosting every single group that goes there, out of their own pockets..........
So come, bring some food, and your friends!
This is just my own impressions - based on what the locals have said, but feel free to post it, forward it, spread the word!
Dodo (contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Links to the video in Hungarian media: