Hundreds in London set to join global day of protest for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers
Hundreds of Traveller, Roma and Gypsy families are set to march alongside supporters in London on Sunday as part of a global day protest. April 8th, ‘Roma Nation Day’, is an annual day of celebration and resistance for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities across the world. Protesters will assemble in Hyde Park corner at noon, visiting various embassies before arriving at the Department of Communities and Local Government.
Evicted residents and activists from Dale Farm are expected to join groups of Roma, Gypsies and Travellers from across London, including up to 100 Bulgarian Roma living in Tottenham. Amnesty International has hailed the event as a day ‘to highlight the persecution and discrimination’ faced by these communities. The demonstration takes place at the end of a week in which the Government published a report disclosing the large inequalities faced by Gypsy and Travellers in the UK.
There are an estimated 10 to 12 million Romani people living in Europe facing attacks, forced evictions and discrimination. In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy described Roma communities as a ‘source of criminality’. This week a report from Amnesty International found that the life expectancy of a male Traveller in Ireland is 15 years lower than the national average .
This Sunday’s ‘Roma Nation Day’ will see demonstrations in various countries including India, Argentina as well as in Sibiu, Romania where six hundred Roma alongside members of the International Romani Union will throw flowers into the river Cibin. The 8th April date marks the first World Roma Congress, held in the UK in 1971.
One of the organisers of that conference, Grattan Puxon, will march on Sunday.
Mr Puxon said, “It’s great to see different communities, from Dale Farm to Bulgaria, coming together to say enough is enough. Life for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers in the UK and around the world is getting worse not better. The injustice of Dale Farm is sadly just the tip of the iceberg”.
The London demonstration has been organised by the Traveller Solidarity Network, a group formed out of the Dale Farm eviction. Alice McGuire, a member of the network and organiser of the demo said, “Dale Farm made many in the UK sit up and notice the discrimination Travellers face. Sadly there are Dale Farms happening up and down the country and across Europe every week. This government is making things worse rather than better and we must all stand together to stop this from happening.”
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