European capitals see unprecedented wave of solidarity with Czech Roma and protests over the death of Stanislav Tomáš
The case of Stanislav Tomáš, who died on Saturday, 19 June after an intervention by police against him in Teplice, Czech Republic, has also sparked a response abroad. Protest gatherings have been held in Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Romania and Spain.
As many as 400 people assembled yesterday in Bucharest, the capital of Romania, in front of the Czech Embassy. Some of those protesting wore t-shirts reading "Racism Kills".
One of the protesters' demands is the independent investigation of this death. "One of our own [...] was brutally killed by police," said Banu Ionut Alin of the Aresel NGO.
"This is the evidence that brutality against Romani people exists. The reason we have taken to the streets today is that institutionalized racism is more and more present," Alin said.
"There is a growing trend of an extremist approach toward the Romani community. We are many, we are strong, and we will resist everything we have to resist in order to respond to institutional racism," Alin said in Bucharest yesterday.
On Friday, 25 June a protest against racism was held in Berlin, the capital of Germany, in front of the Czech Embassy by the Roma Trial organization. That event was supported by antiracist and Romani NGOs and was also attended by Benjamin Ignác of the Open Society Foundations, who defends the rights of Romani people and is a political analyst.
On Saturday 26 June a protest against discrimination and racism against Romani people was held in Dublin, the capital of Ireland. and another such assembly was held in Madrid, the capital of Spain. On Sunday 27 June the Association of Romani Students (HÖR - Hochschüler innenschaft Österreichischer Roma und Romnja) organized an assembly in Vienna, the capital of Austria, together with other organizations.
Those present lit candles at the end of the event in front of the memorial to Marcus Omofuma, an asylum-seeker from Nigeria who died during his deportation from Austria as a consequence of police brutality and whose death has become a symbol of that country's antiracist movement. The European Roma Grassroots Organizations Network has also joined a protest in front of the European Parliament called "Against Police Brutality in Europe" that was organized by the office of Romeo Franz, a Romani MEP from Germany, with the participation of Petr Pollák, a Romani MEP from Slovakia.
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