Greece: Criminal Investigation into Attacks on Romani Community in Menidi Begins
International and national NGOs in Greece are calling for a full investigation into the attacks on the Roma community that erupted in response to the death on 8 June of an 11-year-old-boy in the town of Menidi, according to the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC). A criminal investigation into the riots was launched as of 20 June, but suspects have yet to be arrested.
An 11-year-old non-Romani boy was killed by a stray bullet that day. Greek media reported that a Romani man had fired the weapon involved.
According to the Greek Reporter, “A 23-year-old Roma was arrested on Saturday morning after having confessed that he shot a shotgun on Thursday evening when a 11-year-old boy was killed from a stray bullet.” In response, non-Romani residents targeted the Roma community of Menidi with violence and several Romani homes sustained significant damage.
The Coordinated Organizations and Communities for Roma Human Rights in Greece, the ERRC, the Greek Helsinki Monitor, the Minority Rights Group in Greece and Solidarity Now have called on the Mayor of Menidi and other authorities to fully investigate the attacks on the Roma community. These organisations are calling for a restoration of order and a prosecution of the individuals responsible for the damage to Romani property.
ERRC stresses the importance of considering racial motivation as a factor in the crime: “A comprehensive investigation must be undertaken, and those responsible prosecuted, not only to secure the rights of the individuals affected, but also for the protection of the entire Romani minority." The riots against the Roma community persisted for three days.
Police reportedly successfully kept the anti-Roma mob from entering the Roma community. The violence has abated for now, but pro-Roma organisations are continuing to seek remedies to the situation and to address the potential of future violence.
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