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Pubs in Poznan face claims of racism against Roma

Poznan, 28.1.2011 15:47, (ROMEA)

Incidents of racism have been reported against Roma in the Polish city of Poznan.

According to reports by the newspaper ‘Gazeta Wyborcza,’ numerous pubs in this area are guilty of removing Roma from their establishments and banning them entry to begin with.

Journalists from the newspaper were sent to such pubs with people of Romani descent, where the latter were refused entry. According to one owner, his reason for this was because of disorderly behaviour on the part of Roma, stating that they come in ‘large groups and raise hell.’ He went on to say that ‘they make a mess- their tables after leaving look like they were hit by an earthquake.’

A manager of another bar says that he uses the pretence that all his tables are reserved as a way to prevent Roma from entering.

Poznan is a contender for the European Capital of Culture for 2016, an award which promotes and values diversity, thus making these allegations of racism seem even more out of place.

The police have not yet launched an investigation into the complaints. Poland’s Interior Ministry though have sent mediators to Poznan to help facilitate discussion between pub owners and Roma with regards to this issue.

This follows the occasion in July last year in Limanowa, southern Poland, whereby a crowd armed with stones attempted to forcibly remove the Romani Daga family. Prior to the attack, there had been disputes between the Dagas and local residents, with one case involving members of the former attacking one Roman Guzik. However, whist these individuals were prosecuted, no one was arrested for the mob attack on the Dagas. Instead, the event was heavily portrayed as an appropriate response to deal with the apparent unruliness of Roma.

Andrzej Mirga, who is part of a Polish governmental commission on minorities, has said that very few racist incidents against Roma in Poland are reported. However, the situations in Poznan and Limanowa show that there is still a way to go to deal with discrimination against Roma, with the need to address the attitude that negative action against this group can be justified on the basis of perceived (whether real or not) anti-social behaviour.

Minesh Patel, thenews.pl, DailyIndia.com, Institute of Race Relations, Warsaw Business Journal
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