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Roma in Hungary targeted for attack once again, no injuries

Budapest, 5.7.2010 23:00, (ROMEA)

Late Sunday evening a single-family home occupied by Roma in the northeast of Hungary was fired upon. The MTI agency reports there were no injuries. In recent years, Roma in Hungary have become the target of several attacks during which at least eight people, including a five-year-old child, have died.

A Romani woman and her children were sleeping in their home in the village of Olaszliszka at the time of the attack. The woman said she was awakened by three loud shorts. The bullets struck the masonry of the building’s facade.

Sunday’s incident happened not far from another village where, in October 2006, a non-Romani man ran over and injured a Romani girl. Her relatives retaliated by beating him to death on the spot. Eight Roma were subsequently sentenced to several years in prison for the attack. László Fercsák, a representative of the local minority self-government, issued a statement Sunday saying the residents of the house that was attacked in Olaszliszka had no connection to the events of four years ago, MTI reports.

Recent attacks on Hungarian Roma have mostly taken place at night, while they are sleeping. Last August, a 45-year-old Romani woman was shot to death in the village of Kisléta in the east of the country; her 13-year-old daughter was also seriously injured in the attack. In November 2008, assailants murdered a Romani couple with a hand grenade in the southern Hungarian town of Pécs. That same month, two Roma in the village of Nagycsécs in northeastern Hungary lost their lives when assailants threw Molotov cocktails at their homes and then used shotguns to target them as they fled the ensuing fires.

The Roma community is Hungary’s largest national minority, comprising between five to seven per cent of the country’s 10 million inhabitants. As unemployment and economic problems grow in the country, the Roma are also being more frequently targeted with seditious attacks from extremist parties such as the right-wing Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobbik), which now has representatives in Parliament after the recent elections.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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