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Žiar nad Hronom razes illegal settlement with police assistance

The town of Žiar nad Hronom has removed an emerging illegal settlement in the town's Pod Šibeničným Vrchom district. Town employees assisted by town and national police used heavy machinery to remove three shanties housing almost ten ‘socially marginalised people’ including a preschool-aged child on Tuesday, November 29.

The town of Žiar nad Hronom has removed an emerging illegal settlement in the town's Pod Šibeničným Vrchom district. Town employees assisted by town and national police used heavy machinery to remove three shanties housing almost ten ‘socially marginalised people’ including a preschool-aged child on Tuesday, November 29.

The settlement had been erected earlier this year on land which did not belong to the settlers. The town initially called on the landowner to remove the illegal site but after an agreement with the owner the town decided to do so at its own cost. "We cannot afford further expansion of illegal dumps in the town so we decided to take action. People who established the dump knew about it and have been notified. The illegal dump that was core of the problem has been removed," said Mayor Ivan Černaj, as quoted by the SITA newswire. The police did not need to use coercive measures and settlers took their possessions from the dwellings on their own and even started dismantling them, but did not have time to finish. One of the people from the shanties, Emília Kakarová, admitted they had occupied someone else's land, but said that they did not have any other option.

The mayor rejected criticism from settlers who asked why their shanties had to be removed just before the beginning of winter. "It does not matter when it is being done; they had enough time to eliminate the dumps. We have held intensive talks with the landowner and agreed on this course of action. We have agreed to do this now as they would have gone on making excuses forever," said Černaj. He also admitted that demolition of the illegal settlement, which he repeatedly called an illegal dump, is also a form of appeal to the state to start dealing with the issue of housing ‘socially marginalised people’ – a Slovak euphemism for Roma. Černaj said that if the state does not handle this issue, Žiar nad Hronom will be forced to deal similarly with its biggest illegal settlement, known as Pod Kortinou, which houses dozens of people.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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