Entrepreneur and provocative civil activist Alojz Hlina has rallied Roma communities from around Slovakia to hold a demonstration in front of parliament on 14 September. The demonstration is expected to be attended by thousands of ethnic Roma.
Hlina has recently involved himself in trying to resolve a conflicting situation in the regional capital Malacky west of Bratislava via the civil association called Solution for Malacky. Now he has mobilised the Roma to complain to MPs about their negligence of Roma issues and problems, with Hlina referring to them as a time bomb.
Once the Roma demonstration is over, Hlina then wants to organise a similar demonstration involving those who live alongside Roma communities, as they feel they are victim to a deteriorating quality of life because of certain non-conforming Roma.
Hlina will then put forward his own legislative proposals for change, hoping to get as much support as possible in parliament. He doesn’t count with the nationalist party SNS, though. Hlina blames the problems of co-habitation in Malacky and elsewhere in the country on both state and local authorities, who he claims have been turning a blind eye to the situation.
Hlina is trying to resolve the specific situation on Druzstevna street in Malacky by pressuring the government Roma plenipotentiary to put up an EUR 8,000 subsidy for the town, while the civil association would lend another EUR 6,000. These funds would be used to provide a piece of land for the Roma families involved in the conflict, where five portacabins would be placed and turned into flat units.
The town and the association would then try to regain the money by selling off the land where the large Roma families involved in the conflict currently live, and according to SME daily one of the Roma families has already consented to the scheme.
However, many believe, including mayors in the Zahorie region, that this is not the way to go as it is merely relocating the problem and not dealing with it. Cases of co-habitation conflicts with certain Roma families in Slovakia have been growing in intensity recently, and so far nobody has come up with any clear solutions.
If the Hlina idea works for everyone involved, though, then it might become a kind of pilot project for other streets and towns where Roma families just don’t get along with their neighbours, but it is hardly a long-term solution. Nevertheless, as the general attitude to Roma in Slovakia lacks vision, tolerance or understanding, it is good that someone like Hlina has taken it on himself to seek some kind of solution.