Temporary Roma patrols created in Huncovce

ROMA patrols will be introduced in Huncovce, near Kežmarok, after an incident involving local Roma inhabitants and non-Roma football players that occurred on March 22. The patrols, which should ensure order and safety in the Roma community and its surroundings, will be composed of unemployed Roma, according to an agreement between Government Proxy for Roma Communities Peter Pollák and local mayor Jozef Majerčák.

ROMA patrols will be introduced in Huncovce, near Kežmarok, after an incident involving local Roma inhabitants and non-Roma football players that occurred on March 22. The patrols, which should ensure order and safety in the Roma community and its surroundings, will be composed of unemployed Roma, according to an agreement between Government Proxy for Roma Communities Peter Pollák and local mayor Jozef Majerčák.

“It is a preventive measure to prevent repeated attacks of Roma in Huncovce,” Michaela Paulenová from the press department of the Interior Ministry told the SITA newswire.

The Roma patrols will cooperate with the police, the municipality, the state administration and other professions in the village, like teachers’ assistants and field social workers. They will remain active for as long as the village does not create Roma patrols financed through European Union structural funds, Paulenová said.

Additionally, more than 230 Roma specialists currently work in the village, said Ivan Netík from the Interior Ministry press department. Their number has increased from 16 in the past few years, as reported by SITA.

“The reason is that the specialists speak the Roma language and have more authority among members of some socially-excluded communities,” Netík said.

Meanwhile, the police in Prešov accused four people of instigating the altercation in Huncovce, and are searching for the others. They also launched a criminal prosecution over riotous conduct, police spokesperson Jana Migaľová told SITA. She added that the police will also prosecute some culprits for causing bodily harm.

According to the Čas.sk website, about 100 Roma from a settlement near Huncovce assaulted young football players and managers of their club, who were invited for a friendly match by local schoolchildren. Children from the settlement in Huncovce did not want to allow them onto the football field. After the representatives of the club started to persuade them to let them onto the field, the Roma started behaving aggressively, as reported by Čas.sk.

Fifteen police officers came to the village and detained 10 people. Four people were injured during the incident, SITA wrote.

According to Majerčák, the conflict was the worst the village has ever experienced. He added that it might have been a result of several factors, including the weather, the timing of benefits disbursal and emotions, as reported by SITA.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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