THE MUSIC festival Moldava Spolu (Moldava Together) that was scheduled to have taken place in a Roma settlement in Moldava nad Bodvou (Košice Region) was scrapped after local authorities declined to provide a permit for the event, the organisers said at a press conference in Bratislava on August 26.

The festival, organised under the auspices of President Andrej Kiska, was scheduled for August 29 and was to serve as an event to unify the majority population and the Roma in Moldava, the scene of a controversial police raid last year, which led to changes in the way police carry out raids, the TASR newswire wrote.

The organisers (ETP Slovensko, EQUITY, Mestská Zásahy and the Pohoda Festival agency) told the press that they will not look for an alternative space to organise the festival. They complained that they did not receive the negative stance from the local authorities until after the deadline legal deadline: a mere nine days before the festival was to have taken place.

The organisers dismissed the town’s objections concerning the Roma settlement’s alleged lack of safe accessibility.

“There is no problem with accessibility to the settlement for rescue teams, as two cars going in opposite direction can pass each other,” the organisers said, as quoted by TASR, adding that they are considering taking legal action against the town authorities.

Moldava Mayor István Zachariaš told TASR that he declined to release a permit for the festival, as the organisers failed to present him with all the proper documents, mainly those pertaining to security.

“I needed to know on which specific plots [of land] the festival should have taken place, where the stage should have been located and how the police patrol would have been ensured,” the mayor added. “They did not provide anything. So, at my own initiative, I approached the state police for a stance, and I was told that it would not be safe [to organise the festival] in the settlement.”

Zachariaš also said that he does not fear potential legal action, as his reasons for banning the festival were well-grounded.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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