A planned protest by Roma in the Lunik IX district of Košice that had been organised by Ladislav Fízik, the chairman of the Roma Parliament (an unofficial assembly incorporating some 160 Roma organisations), failed to occur after only 50 curious children showed up at the agreed time in front of the local municipal hall.
After repeated calls, some adult inhabitants of Lunik IX appeared, too, but the TASR newswire reported that they were attracted more by the presence of journalists than by the issues under discussion. According to their answers, TASR reported, many had no idea that there was supposed to be any protest nor what they should be protesting against. Lunik IX mayor Dionýz Slepčík informed journalists that the greatest problem for the neighbourhood is the current cut to public spending on the district, which he said had led to an untenable financial situation.
However, his statement was rejected by Košice's deputy mayor, Renáta Lenartová, who suggested that the residents of the district were themselves to blame for their problems. Lunik IX is populated almost exclusively by Roma and is known for its serious unemployment and deprivation problems. "We want to change this long-term problem, where decent Košice inhabitants have been discriminated against by the unadaptable inhabitants [a Slovak euphemism for Roma - Ed. note] of Lunix IX. This borough has been given €34.70 per capita from income taxes, while other city parts get only €22.60," she said, as quoted by TASR. Košice municipal administrators have announced that "nobody should stand above the law – not even Lunik IX", a reference to the widely reported tendency of residents there not to pay utility bills or local taxes. "And this tenet will be thoroughly implemented in order to put an end to this state of affairs, in which all Kosice inhabitants suffer for the notorious borough," said Lenartová.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
6. May 2011 at 10:00