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IN SHORT

Roma protest poverty

OVER 300 Roma met at a protest rally in the eastern Slovak town of Michalovce, where there are only 114 jobs available to the 14,298 unemployed, the daily SME wrote.

The Roma protested their deteriorating social situation. The speakers condemned the government's social reforms, which have severely cut social benefits for Roma.

One of the organisers of the protest, Ivan Tokár, said that no political party is fuelling the rallies; rather, the Roma are acting out of despair at the difficulty of surviving.

Tokár said that the protesters did not want any social benefits; they wanted jobs and living conditions similar to those in western Slovakia.

Over the past week, several Roma protests were held in different eastern Slovak towns, especially in the Michalovce district.

Ladislav Fizik, the chairman of the Roma Parliament in Slovakia, told the press another demonstration was being prepared for February 25.

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