Three Roma families repeatedly attacked in Slovakia over Easter
The village of Gemerská Poloma in the Rožňava district of Slovakia experienced three days of terror against Roma families during the Easter weekend. The families were attacked in their homes by a group of youths whom the victims say were "skinheads". Local activist Stanislav Kučerák reported the incident to the Roma Press Agency (Romská tisková agentura - RPA).
Kučerák said there are about three youths living in the village who are sympathizers of the neo-Nazi movement and that they called on other men from around the district to come to the village. Approximately 40 - 50 men gathered there and attacked the Roma families directly in their homes, destroying everything they could get their hands on, from dishes to furniture to windows, even tearing doors off their hinges. They also beat some of the Roma residents. Small children witnessed all of the violence committed against their families.
The Roma who were assaulted sought help from Mr Kučerák. He called the police and insisted that a patrol arrive as quickly as possible because of the threat not only to health and property, but to the lives of the citizens concerned. Mr Kučerák said two police officers arrived on the scene within five minutes.
"The officers raised their voices to me and asked me questions like, 'Who are you? You seem like a real smart guy...' They were unpleasant to me and did their best to show me that I am nobody. They told the Roma people who had been attacked that they would not guarantee their protection and that the best thing for them to do would be to call a taxi and flee to their relatives. They stayed on the scene for about 20 minutes, taking photos and writing something up. Then they commented that some other body was going to have to handle it anyway and said the Roma families hadn't even had a gate up in front of their homes so that the area in front of the houses was basically free space," explained Kučerák.
Kučerák went on to say that the mayor of Gemerská Poloma's only comment was that the Roma had not been attacked without cause. He recommended them to lock their doors.
"The mayor is said to have reached an agreement with the three people responsible from the village. He wanted to prevent, by all available means, this information from reaching the public through the media," Kučerák said.
Kučerák says the attacks on the Roma families in Gemerská Poloma took place late Friday night and in the early morning hours of Saturday and again late Saturday and in the early morning hours of Sunday during the Easter holiday. He also said a similar attack took place last year in the village. The Roma Press Agency asked the Regional Police in Košice for a statement and will publish it once they receive it.