Wearing orange overalls and sporting a spade, Justice Minister Ján Čarnogurský spent October 2 participating in a volunteer clean-up of Luník IX, Slovakia's most notorious Roma ghetto. Of Lunik IX's 3,000 residents, over 500 assisted in the clean-up, as did several Košice-based companies which contributed technical support and free waste disposal.
During a press conference, Čarnogurský said that the goal of the volunteer clean-up was to get the Roma community to help themselves without government assistance. "The mission [of the clean-up] is to motivate [the Roma] to solve their problems by themselves and keep their area tidy without expecting financial support from the government," he said. "This is the only reliable way that they can help solve their problems."
Čarnogurský also promised to increase the presence of police patrols in Luník IX and to help construct a guarded parking lot.
Slovak President Rudolf Schuster took a stance on the Lunik problem recently. He admitted to the Práca daily paper that Luník is a Roma ghetto, but maintained that the Roma had turned the area into a ghetto on their own.
11. Oct 1999 at 0:00 | From press reports of TASR and SITA