ERGO distances itself from wall demolition in Slovakia
Yesterday the European Roma Grassroots Organization Network issued a press release regarding the partial demolition of a segregating wall in Slovakia in which the Brussels-based group distanced itself from the incident. On the night of 9 to 10 September, the wall in the town of Košice was partially demolished by a small group of activists at the same time that an event was being held in the community as part of ERGO's “Wall Free Europe” campaign, which was launched in April and is centered around the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November.
ERGO and its Czech member organization Konexe say they do not condone the activists' actions. ERGO also regrets that the municipality has not entered into dialogue with the local community about the wall.
Municipal workers repaired the wall the next day. ERGO Network and Konexe say they believe all of the walls segregating Romani people in Europe should be removed, but during the day, not under cover of night, and after dialogue with local authorities.
"Although we disagree with the way the ‘opening’ of the Košice wall took place, we strongly feel it should not distract attention from the response of the Košice municipality: The wall was immediately rebuilt. This is a decision signalling no willingness to dialogue and also is in sharp contrast with the demand of European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Multilingualism, Androulla Vassiliou, who called for the Slovak city of Košice to demolish 'without delay' the wall that segregates the town's Roma community. The episode in Košice unfortunately shows that campaigns such as 'Wall Free Europe' are very much needed," the ERGO press release says.
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