ANOTHER wall dividing Roma from the majority population has been erected in Košice. The city municipality of Západ, which is behind the construction, argues that it did not violate any laws, even though city hall maintains that it never approved the construction. Meanwhile, a big ‘Prepáčte’ (Sorry) was painted on the wall itself.
It is not clear who wrote the apology on the wall and when, but it is not the first time such an inscription has appeared on a wall.
The recently erected Košice wall, which cost €4,700, was built as a reaction to numerous complaints by locals about frequent petty theft and disorder in the parking lot by the Lunik IX neighbourhood, a notorious Roma ghetto in Košice. The municipal authorities built the wall that now prevents Roma from walking across this part of the Lunik VIII neighbourhood. Authorities, however, have refused to call the construction an anti-Roma measure, the Sme daily reported.
Košice City Council stressed that it never approved the construction of the wall and thus considers it an illegal construction, Sme wrote.
The Západ municipality, however, maintains that it announced the start of construction work to the city and that city hall provided a statement of approval.
The new wall prompted human rights watchdogs to note that it will not improve relations between Roma and the majority inhabitants of the city, but that the Roma themselves do not vehemently object to the wall.
“I don’t mind [the wall] and from what I know neither do the Roma,” the mayor of Lunik IX, Dionýz Slepčík, told the Pravda daily. “If they [non-Roma] want to solve the situation that way, let them do it. Apparently they want to protect their property.”