Slovakia: Roma denied entry to swimming pool, staff invents various pretexts to keep them out
Slovak media are reporting that staff at the municipal pool in the town of Moldava nad Bodvou have refused to allow several Romani people to enter the facility, alleging at one time that they needed to provide a medical confirmation of their state of health. Other Romani swimmers were not allowed entry for other reasons.
The employees are now being accused of racist behavior. They are defending themselves by saying they were just insisting the facility's rules be followed.
Two Romani women who gave their names as Karolína and Štefánia were among those denied entry. According to them, the employees were neither arrogant nor unpleasant when they did so.
Allegedly the staff simply announced to them that they would not be allowed into the facility. "They told us we needed a paper from a doctor proving we have no health difficulties and no contagious diseases," Štefánia told the RTVS public broadcaster.
Štefánia also said her 10-year-old brother wanted to swim but was told he needed an adult to accompany him at all times. A Romani man named Karel also tried going to the pool with his girlfriend.
"I asked them why I couldn't enter and they answered that it was invitation-only," the young Romani man told the media. Allegedly employees at the entrance told him something like a private event was underway.
Swimming pool denies racism
The pool management, however, is vigorously denying the accusations, which in their view have no basis in fact. "The Moldava nad Bodvou swimming pool requires its visitors to uphold hygienic principles and rules of decent behavior that certain citizens have a problem with," facility operator Michal Komár told news server Topky.sk.
"We never require any medical confirmation and the pool is accessible to all who identify with the given rules," he continued. "Access is not facilitated for citizens who come to the pool drunk, dirty, without a swimsuit, to citizens who behave in a vulgar manner, etc."
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