A march for the rights of decent people is set to take place in the western-Slovak town of Partizánske on September 29, linked to an eponymous petition announced by the mayor of Partizánske, Jozef Božík, beginning September, the TASR newswire learned.

"I'm pleased that the Police Corps have also requested cooperation, as our goal is to make sure that all people in Partizánske will remain safe, and primarily those taking part in the decent march," said Božík. The petition has been organised by mayors of three towns – Božík, the mayor of Handlová (also in Trenčín Region) Rudolf Podoba and the mayor of Žiar nad Hronom (Banská Bystrica Region) Ivan Černaj. The petition includes four demands: 1) the introduction of tougher legislative measures against the violation of the constitutional rights of decent people perpetrated by anti-social individuals; 2) the payment of social welfare benefits only on condition that the recipient undertakes a certain amount of work; 3) a reduction in the age of criminal responsibility from 14 to 12; and 4) the prosecution of parents for the crimes of their underage children.

The Petition for Decent People is anti-Roma, insists the Roma Parliament. The leadership of the Roma advocacy movement met to discuss the petition at a special session on September 8, and presented the results on Monday, September 10.

"We consider the petition launched by people holding mayoral posts in towns and villages [to be] anti-Roma and [something which] escalates the tense crisis of relations in society between the majority and the minority," says a press release from the session as quoted by the SITA newswire. The Roma Parliament is convinced that those in power are unable to perform their functions and do not sufficiently apply Slovak laws. The party also slams many of the mayors for having used certain tools in the elections to win the votes of "indecent people" and now they are turning their backs on them and publicly declaring that they are unadaptable. When announcing the initiative, Božík refuted any allegations of racist motives behind its launch.

The office of the government proxy for Roma communities says that towns and villages should seek rational solutions and preventively treat problems of socially unadaptable citizens. Municipalities might partly restrict several extreme forms of such behavior through systematic work with problematic inhabitants that would no longer result in the serious escalation of tensions between people, Iveta Duchoňová of the office told SITA.

(Source: TASR, SITA)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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