Roma people living in Slovakia have appealed in an open letter addressed to President Ivan Gašparovič, the Slovak Government and the European Union for them to condemn the recent activities of the ultra right-wing organisation Slovenská Pospolitosť (Slovak Togetherness, SP), various Roma activists and civic associations announced on August 5.
Roma representatives say they are worried about a so-called ‘national mobilisation’ being organised by SP in the village of Šarišské Michaľany (Prešov Region) on Saturday, August 8, that is purportedly aimed against Roma.
"A murder in neighbouring Hungary, where a woman - mother and citizen - lost her life a few days ago, forces us not to be passive and wait to see what will happen," reads the letter meant for the president, the cabinet and the EU. The Roma organisations stress that it is not sufficient to protest against extremists, but that it is necessary to take strong action against them. "The fear, which we - the Roma - feel when observing the situation in neighbouring Hungary, Italy and other countries of the European Union make us fear for our lives and the lives of our children, whom we send to schools, shops and streets with fear – only because we are Roma," reads the letter.
Slovenská Pospolitosť has called for a gathering in Šarišské Michaľany to take place in front of the local authority office on August 1. What the organisation calls the 'national mobilisation' is in reaction to an alleged attack by two Roma boys (15 and 16) from a nearby Roma village on a white 65-year-old pensioner earlier this week.
President Gašparovič issued a statement on August 5 declaring his rejection of all expressions of intolerance, extremism or racial hatred. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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6. Aug 2009 at 10:00