Slovakia: Romani residents of Zborov tell Romea.cz that police beat children, pregnant women, threatened retribution if video released
News server Romea.cz has visited the settlement of Zborov, Slovakia to investigate how police officers there performed a recent intervention against its Romani residents. On 16 April, officers were filmed using their batons to assault young children and others there.
An older woman who was not participating in any conflict was pushed to the ground by the officers during the intervention. Video footage of the raid was publicized at the end of May by the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), based in Budapest.
"The others came to me and told me they were beating my gradnson. I went to see what was going on. The officers grabbed me and handcuffed me. They left me standing there for about two hours They did not want to loosen the cuffs. They said that if I paid them EUR 20, as a fine, they would release me," an older Romani man from Zborov told news server Romea.cz.
"My grandson is 14 and after this he now has three scars from their nightsticks," the grandfather said. The case was immediately taken up by activist and blogger Štefan Dreveňák after it was publicized.
"The Police know they can get away with this against Romani people. The moment they ascertain that somebody has filmed their intervention they are certain they can force the person to delete the recording," Dreveňák told Romea.cz.
A young Romani woman confirmed his words. "The Police came back that same day and threatened us that if we put any video on Facebook or moved forward with it in any other way it would be bad for us," she said.
"We were afraid. During that raid they jumped out of their cars and began beating all of us - children, pregnant women, even elderly women. They threatened to bring reinforcements next time with dogs," the young Romani woman told news server Romea.cz.
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