Romania: 900 protest recent violence against Roma in Italy and Ukraine, more demonstrations in other European countries to follow
As many as 900 people assembled on Saturday, 28 July 2018 in Bucharest, Romani in front of the Italian and Ukrainian embassies to express their disagreement with many violent anti-Romani crimes and to protest antigypsyism in Europe. The assemblies were the first in a series of protests that are being realized in nine European countries.
In the Czech Republic, Romani people and others will assemble on Tuesday, 31 July 2018 in Prague to protest the same issue. "An informal group of Romani activists held a protest against the racist attacks in Ukraine. We also protested in front of the Italian Embassy against the plan of Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, a member of an ultra-right party, to conduct a census of Romani people in Italy and to apply some racist policies against them," Florin Nastule, a co-organizer of the Bucharest event, told news server Romea.cz.
Demonstrators marched from the Italian Embassy to the Office of the Government of Romania and then to the Ukrainian Embassy. They carried Romani flags and anti-racist banners.
Ciprian Necula, another co-organizer of the Bucharest protest, read a manifesto expressing activists' disagreement with violence against Romani people in Italy, Romania and Ukraine. "To control one ethnic group can lead to racist political measures supporting violence against that minority as happened in Italy in the year 1938 under the leadership of Mussolini," Necula said.
Today in Bucharest, in front of Italian and Ukrainian embassies, #Roma demonstrated solidarity with sisters and brothers from these countries where they face forced evictions, state-sponsored brutality and racially motivated violence and killings. pic.twitter.com/iDGeOhzLD9— Zeljko Jovanovic (@jovanovicz) 28. července 2018
The demonstrators also called on the European Commission to beef up its monitoring of anti-Romani racism in the EU Member States and to begin infringement proceedings against all EU Member States that fail to prosecute hate crimes. "In front of the Office of the Government of Romania we protested against institutional racism and demanded the Romanian Government adopt concrete, transparent measures against the discriminatory and racist practices of public institutions," Nastule told Romea.cz.
Necula added that according to public opinion polls, Roma are the minority in Romania most vulnerable to discrimination and racism. Protesters laid flowers before the Ukrainian Embassy and held a minute of silence there to honor the memory of the Roma murdered there recently.
The action in Bucharest was the first in a series of demonstrations that will take place in nine European countries - Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Spain - between now and 6 August. Roma and others want to show that they will no longer tolerate the approach taken by politicians and states toward Romani people, one that is discriminatory, dismissive, and sometimes also racist.
The protests are also meant to commemorate the atrocities committed during the Second World War. Romani people from all over Europe commemorate Romani Holocaust Memorial Day on 2 August.
This year marks the sad 74th anniversary of the destruction of the so-called "Gypsy family camp" at the Auschwitz concentration camp. On 2 and 3 August 1944, 2 898 Romani children, men and women were murdered there in the gas chambers.
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