Racial intolerance of the Roma minority in Slovakia is nothing new and everyone is aware of the issue, but now in Gemerska Poloma in East Slovakia a gang of around 40 locals are allegedly getting physical in an attempt to drive local Roma families out of their homes.
The case was made public by local councillor Gejza Milko yesterday after three Roma families came to him with the claim that for the past week they had been terrorised by a group of 40 residents, reports TASR newswire. On Sunday Milko accompanied the terrified families to the police station to make an official complaint and so the police are now conducting an official investigation.
The families approached councillor Milko for help as he himself is of Roma ethnicity. Milko told TASR newswire that the vigilante-style group had been attacking the families and their homes, probably as they wanted to push them out of the village.
Police spokeswoman for Kosice Region, Jana Mesarova, confirmed the complaint and informed that a patrol car had been dispatched to the village four times in the past week, but that so far no culprits had not been determined.
Many non-Roma Slovaks find co-habitation with their Roma neighbours a problem, and they are not shy to admit it on various online discussions, where they continually challenge those who do not have to live alongside Roma communities to try it before casting judgement.
Last year some villages in Slovakia built segregation walls to keep Roma ‘out’, but such ‘vigilante’ cases where locals take the law into their own hands are rare, or at least have not publicised. Whatever happens, this kind of intolerance must be stamped out before it gets worse or becomes the norm, but that would require more action from local mayors, the police and ultimately, the government.