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Roma organization petitions for disbanding of Hungarian Guard

Budapest, 2.3.2008 15:14, (ROMEA/Politics.hu)

In just two weeks, the National Gypsy Government (Országos Cigány Önkormányzat, OCÖ) has collected tens of thousands of signatures to support an amendment to the law that would ban the Hungarian Guard and similar paramilitary organizations, stop.hu wrote on February 22, based on a report by state news agency MTI.

The signature gathering initiative is not about conflicts between Roma and Hungarians but about democracy and those who question it.

OCÖ Chairman Orbán Kolompár said that although they are not campaigning for signatures, several minority organizations, along with people of Roma and non-Roma origin have joined their cause. At least 50,000 signatures need to be collected for a request for the amendment to be accepted.

Kolompár added that the signature gathering initiative is not about conflicts between Roma and Hungarians but about democracy and those who question it. He added, without mentioning names, that several politicians from both political sides a number of political public figures support the initiative and provided signatures. The OCÖ will submit them to Parliament before the March 9 referendum.

"With at least 50,000 signatures from Roma and non-Roma people, we will prove that solidarity and cooperation can help us create social peace," he said.

The OCÖ would like to not only disband the Hungarian Guard but also to prevent any future paramilitary groups inciting fear from be formed in Hungary. Kolompár said that one thing they have already achieved is bringing political attention to the fact that some individuals and organizations are trying to gain political power at the expense of Roma.

The first hearing on the potential disbanding of the Hungarian Guard will be held at the Budapest Court on April 14. Kolompár said his organization awaits the trial with much interest.

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