A violent incident that took place in the small town of Gelnica in East Slovakia at a Roma wake for a drowned four-year old boy could flare up racial tension, as a waitress was beaten repeatedly by some of those at the wake.
Regional news service of Sme daily Novovesky Korzar reports how the 21-yr old waitress said she was first attacked by a woman who had fainted and been carried outside. The woman came round as the waitress was giving her a glass of water she had been asked for, and immediately launched at the waitress tearing at her clothes and hair. The situation then flared up and the waitress threw the glass in panic, hitting another woman.
Some of the alcohol-fuelled mob, who had also brought their own alcohol to the wake, then turned on the waitress, throwing her to the ground and beating her. The waitress eventually managed to run inside to hide in a back room, but she was pursued by some of the attackers, who broke in and proceeded to beat her again along with her aunt, who is one of the restaurant owners. The attackers then stole both their mobile phones and fled the scene.
The waitress had to spend four days in hospital after the incident and local residents in Gelnica have launched a social network protest with a public march planned, while the police have reacted by boosting the number of patrols. Gelnica mayor Ladislav Gross even referred to the situation as critical.
The waitress’ aunt now says she shouldn’t have agreed to let the wake take place at her restaurant, as all the other establishments had rejected the request of the Roma, who had announced just 30 people to attend, while around 150 showed up.
Apart from the physical injuries, the young waitress is now suffering mental trauma, telling Korzar: “I cry every day. I’m afraid to go out in the street and have bursts of terror and panic even when I have to go to the doctor. I just keep asking myself how I’m going to continue living in this town”.