by TASZ / Hungarian Civil Liberties Union
The 2/3 majority Hungarian Parliament, with a resolution published on June 7, set up an ad hoc parliamentary committee to investigate the events in Gyöngyöspata. Despite the fact that based on the title and preamble of the resolution, the task of the committee is to investigate the background of criminal activity by uniformed personnel and to assist in eliminating it, out of the nine tasks listed by the resolution five (!) are concerned with the evacuation of the Roma by the Red Cross and the role of Richard Field. The resolution – recalling the documents of the staged trials of the 1950s – is prejudiced when, among others, it states: “establishing who and why claimed untruthfully with regard to the long-existing activities of the Red Cross that the evacuation of the Romas from the scene was taking place, what was the reason and objective for this causing of panic”.
In Gyöngyöspata, Hungary, ever since March 2010 extremist anti-Roma groups – pretending to be militiamen and vindicating the right to maintain public order – have started a systematic campaign of intimidation against the Roma. For weeks they illegally patrolled the village and provoked the Roma adults and children. The government and the police have contributed to the escalation of the situation by their inaction.
To read the full press release go to this link: http://tasz.hu/en/news/show-parliamentary-committee-investigates-events-gyongyospata
On Tuesday evening, a fight broke out between the local Roma and supporters of Véderő, who sneaked back to Gyöngyöspata. The Roma say the extreme right wingers in uniforms were prvoking them all day and hit one of them in the end. The leader of Véderő said, around 100-120 loval Roma attacked four men, who were walking peacefully without uniforms. Four are injured, one is badly hurt. Hundreds of police have arrived.
A fight burst out around 9 pm at Gyöngyöspata on Tuesday night. The local Roma – recently known because of the trainings held there by the extreme right-wing group, Véderő– said to Index that something snapped for good in this town, where many are fleeing from. The representative of the National Ambulance service told index, four people were taken to hospital in Hatvan, one with severe and three with less severe injuries. Hundreds of police have arrived to Gyongyospata.
János Ladó, representative of the Roma Civil Rights Foundation who was on the ground, said to Index that more and more uniformed Véderő members were sneaking back on Tuesday. They, and their local Gyöngyöspata supporters were provoking those Roma who live not in the Roma neighbourhood, but in the central areas of the town. Allegedly, they also threatened them with a gun during the day.
By the evening, in the middle of a birthday celebration, the provocation increased, and more and more gathered on both sides. The Roma called the police, first one patrol arrived, then more policemen.
While the crowd was gathering in the central areas of the town, some threw stones at the windows of one of the houses in the Roma neighbourhood, some 10 minutes walk from there, then assaulted a 14-year-old local Roma boy. A serious fight in the Roma neighbourhood followed; according to Ladó some were seriously injured, he saw three. Police called for more police backup. This was also confirmed by representative of TASZ [HCLU- Hungarian Civil Liberties Union] who saw a group of police cars on the highway, on their way to Gyöngyöspata.
Captain Bálint Soltész, spokesman of Heves Megye Police Headquarters, confirmed to Index that the two groups really ’got across’ on Tuesday night. According to Soltész, some were injured, at least the ambulance was called, but he could not report any details, such as how many police arrived and whether they asked for backup.
Ladó claims that the situation is very tense in the town. After Tuesday’s fights panic is palpable, the situation got worse even compared to the recent days.
A local Roma activist said to Index that he cannot report as he is about to evacuate his family from the village. He says that there was no peace even in the recent days: many villagers hosted extremists of Véderő, who were ‘hiding out’ there in the recent days after having been sent away from their camp during the weekend. There is news spreading in the town, that an armed attack happened, but there is no information about shootings. We must remember that upon the return of the local Roma women and children on Sunday, after they fled on Friday, Janos Farkas, local Roma leader said after the next incident the minority will leave the town for good.
Tamás Eszes, leader of Véderő who bought land in Gyöngyöspata and organised the military training during the weekend, said after 11pm that he was on his way to Gyöngyöspata, where – according to him – 100-120 Romas attacked four civilian, peacefully walking men with pegs. He says that one of them was a member of Véderő, but others were locals, and all of them had to be taken to the hospital.
Political catastrophe tourism
Laszlo Horvath, county government representative said to MTI: it is impossible to handle the situation now. He says the ‘catastrophe tourism’ must end, this is where the political festival that started in March has led. The politician walk around a few streets in Gyöngyöspata and the locals told him “they are tired of being threatened as Hungarians in their own homes” and “there are a lot of policemen here, where have they been?”. There were some who said the video recordings of on the ground events will disappear again – the fight was recorded. Many criticized the party LMP [Politics Can Be Different], because they are said to turn up after such incidents and give money and such to the Roma, who then feel what they do is right.
What has happened so far?
Members of Véderő arrived to Gyöngyöspata 16th April, according to the local Roma only to intimidate them. The right-wing group planned to organise a training camp at a wine-cellar that they were provided by the villagers. The self-appointed guards planned to invade the area at the weekend.
The series right-wing organisations’ marches started when a local inhabitant committed suicide in the end of February. According to the local Jobbik president, the elderly man killed himself, because some Roma, whose houses were damaged by floods, were to move in as his neighbours. The topic was snapped up by Jobbik, members of For a Better Future Civil Guard group appeared, then Véderő bought a land on the hillside above the Roma neighbourhood.
The camp was dismantled by the police 22nd April. Red Cross and and American entrepreneur took the Roma women and children from the village in the morning: some 300 hundred left Gyöngyöspata by bus. They were taken to a camp in Csillebérc, but have gone back home by now.
Members of Véderő appeared in Gyöngyöspata on Monday again, where they still plan on holding their military camp about self-defense and weapon use.
To go to the original article: http://index.hu/belfold/2011/04/26/verekedes_gyongyospatan/
Translated by L.B.
The tension that has been growing for weeks between members of Véderő – the paramilitary extremist group – and the local Roma has burst out.
A fight broke out between the two groups in Gyöngyöspata, many are injured and they called the ambulance – confirmed Bálint Soltész, press spokesman of Heves Megye Police Headquarters, to Hírszerző. Bálint Soltész could not yet tell how many were involved in the fight, how serious the injuries were and why the conflict burst out. According to the spokesman there is enough police is presence in the town, as there has been increased police control in Gyöngyöspata.
According to messages posted on the ‘Hundred Thousand for Gyöngyöspata’ [Százezren Gyöngyöspatáért] Facebook group, members of Véderő and other extreme right-wing groups invaded the Roma neighbourhood and broke windows. Leader of Véderő claims that Roma attacked the members of Betyársereg and Véderő.
The ‘Hundred Thousand for Gyöngyöspata’ Facebook posts state that the police blocked entry to Gyöngyöspata, the town is completely cordonned off.
According to the description on the ‘Hundred Thousand for Gyöngyöspata’ Facebook site “Véderő and their associates stirred some tension in Arany János street, the police appeared there, but in the meanwhile their Véderő fellows got into the Roma neighbourhood from Bajcsy street. Allegedly they knocked over a woman, threw stones at the houses, and the fight burst out, while the police was at Arany János street. Many are injured, on both sides”.
A witness claims that there are no serious injuries. A Roma teenager boy was beaten up by Véderő members, then the Roma who rushed there, beat up two of them. The injured were attended to, one Roma was taken into custody. According to a witness, storm-troops also arrested those members of Betyársereg and Véderő, who were involved in the fight.
There has been no news posted on the Facebook page about the Attila O., the Roma man who was taken into custody. Dozens of Civil Guards For a Better Future [Szebb Jövőért] members, who were not involved in the fight, are gathering at their headquarters. Based on the accounts of the locals, the police is sending the Roma home after they have gathered in the streets hearing what had happened. The police interrogated Gyozo B., the 14-year-old boy, who was abused by Vedero members – based on the accounts this was the primary reason of why the fight broke out.
There have been four injuries in the fight that broke out in Gyöngyöspata, Heves county, on Tuesday night – said MTI. The representative of the National Ambulance Service said to MTI, the first findings have revealed that one of those injured has serious injuries, the other have lighter ones. The injured were taken to the hospital in Hatvan.
To go to the original article: http://hirszerzo.hu/belfold/20110426_gyongyospata_tomegverekedes
Translated by L.B.
Roma residents of a Hungarian village describe the far-right vigilante group that has been patrolling their streets.
Phil Cain Last Modified: 28 Mar 2011 11:44
Some non-Roma residents of the village say they support the vigilante group that has been patrolling their streets[Credit: Phil Cain]
The Hungarian far right looks set to roll out a campaign of Roma intimidation after meeting little resistance to its vigilante “law and order” mission in Gyongyospata, a Hungarian village of 2,800 people 80km north-east of Budapest.
For A Better Future, a paramilitary organisation deriving its name from a Nazi youth movement slogan, entered the village at the start of the month. It conducted foot and car patrols, followed Roma around and stopped them from entering shops.
On March 10, the intimidation reached its peak when 1,000 black-uniformed neo-Nazis marched through the village, some reportedly armed with dogs, whips and chains.
Many Roma were afraid to leave their homes or take their children to school. The local mayor, Laszlo Tabi, who is not officially allied to a political party, allegedly offered his seal of approval, while the police sat on their hands.
“I cried when I saw them marching,” says Janos Farkas, the spokesman for the village’s 450-strong Roma community which centres around a dirt road in a shallow valley at the edge of the village. Many of the dilapidated homes do not have mains water and few of their occupants jobs.
“I can’t see how this could happen in a democratic country? The police are now present, but why did they let it go on for three weeks?” asks Farkas.
Nothing has been done to stop the vigilantes from restarting their activities here or to prevent them springing up elsewhere.
A national ‘example’
“This looks like a local conflict, but it is a national one,” says Kristof Szombati of Politics Can Be Different, a liberal green party. On this, if nothing else, the far right agrees with him.
Gyongyospata provides an “example for future situations” says Gabor Vona, the leader of the extreme-right Jobbik party, which is behind the uniformed intervention, at a press conference in the village council chamber. His party hopes to use the vigilante campaign to mark the first anniversary of its entry into parliament, with 17 per cent of the vote, next month.
Among those areas targeted for vigilante takeover is Hajduhadhaz, a town of 13,000 in the east.
“The police do not have enough power to handle the situation,” says Gabor Kovacs, a Gyongyospata-born vigilante volunteer in full black uniform, fumbling with his black baseball cap.
“The Roma have stolen vegetables and grapevines,” he says, although he explains that the identity of culprits is rarely known because thefts often happen at night when victims are asleep.
“We have a good working relationship with the police. I also have criticisms, but I do not want to talk about them publicly,” says Vona. The county police are reported to be aware of the formation of a permanent local branch of the vigilante movement.
“I feel better with For A Better Future patrolling here than with the police,” says a non-Roma villager, unwilling to give her name, for fear that her Roma neighbours will find out. She says Roma have scaled her fence and stolen two hens, one this year, one last.
“I can’t let my hands rest in my lap for a second while Roma might come along and burn my house down.” The best solution, she says, would be to “take them away”.
Her middle-aged neighbour, Sandor Torok, prefers far less drastic action. He had a chainsaw stolen from his yard in late January but got it back after three hours after offering a Roma boy a 5,000 forint ($26) reward for its return.
Allegations of more serious Roma-misdeeds are doing the rounds among non-Roma villagers too, none of which can be confirmed. One elderly non-Roma man is even said to have killed himself because he thought Roma neighbours might move in. According to a clerk in the council offices, some Roma beat a young female school teacher, although a fellow teacher said she had not heard of the incident.
“Roma have lived here for 500 years and have always stuck to the law. Only one or two youngsters have done anything wrong,” says Farkas.
There is no evidence that even petty crime has risen in Gyongyospata, but the financial crisis has driven up the significance of people’s everyday possessions and the far right is only too happy for the chance to profit from the heightened sensitivity.
For the original article go to: http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/03/2011328102243552176.html
Click here to listen: http://www.archive.org/flow/flowplayer.commercial-3.2.1.swf
Original article can be found here: [http://fenteslent.blog.hu/2011/03/18/gyongyospata_1]
The Hungarian Guard which recently marched in Gyöngyöspata, plans to seize the settlement of Hajdúhadháza with nonstop patroling. The Hungarian police, which are officially responsible for maintaining law and order, do not want to intervene. Meanwhile, civilians opposed to the Jobbik program are organizing a commute to Gyöngyöspata to prevent further atrocities.
While in his role as EU-President Viktor Orban emphasises the creation of one million work places and equal opportunities (among other things) in the name of the joint Roma strategy–the actual key project of the EU, and Orban’s “protect the Hungarians from Brussels” self says that punishing shirkers will in fact elevate Hungary. Jobbik successfully feeds on the poison produced by the country’s real misery.
The recipe isn’t complicated: just go to a place where the resources are minimal, and by means of national politics encroach on the conflict between those who still have something left and those who don’t. Let us name the conflict an “identity-conflict”, and we can be sure that the topic will expand to include basic national political topics and ignite the well prepared tones of Hungarian-Jew-Gypsy and “respect diversity” themes. It will be the natural course of events that every gesture to reconcile the case which was triggered by the Guard will appear suspicious and hypocritical since problems, misery and conflict really exist. If the Guard plays its cards well, meaning that it will “step up” in the name of Hungarians, then does stepping up against the Guard consequently mean stepping up against the Hungarians? What a familiar and extremely malicious dead end. Many of those who were trained in the sick camps of Hungarian politics, fall for it, giving a great reference base for Jobbik.
We have to get over this dead end. We have to deal with the basic elements of this case.
The Guard acts as an enforcement organization; however, legally only the state police are entitled to that. The police are in the hands of FIDESZ. The correlation between the actions of the government and those of Jobbik is not stated in some abstract analysis, this correlation and the responsibility are amazingly concrete. If they don’t do anything, they won’t be able to avoid allowing Jobbik to capture the vulnerable groups in the society with its enforcement organization and fuel their conflicts for the benefit of its political aims. How long do they wait? Till the first drop of blood?
Even if one part of the population is pushed to the edge so far that they might fall off, they won’t disappear. The problem will land somewhere. Those people will still live somewhere and fight to survive. There will be places where their presence cannot be covered by the promise of one million workplaces and the positive idea of communal work (if the kids will see that daddy goes to work, they will also have work when they grow up – said an expert fromFIDESZ )
This presence will not smite those playing the smart guys at the party headquarters, but those, who are just a little bit further from the shithole. The conflict of the fight for survival won’t affect the party-Audi owners either, but those the excluded ones still can reach. For those, living in this every day conflict, the phrase “respect diversity” does not mean too much, but you can hack their fury with the Nazi promise of organized defense. However, it won’t be the politicians who will be slain in this conflict, neither will they be the ones who are arrested after they blew their fuse for good.
An economic policy which holds marginalization to be normal, the fact that certain part of the population has to survive outside law and order, because inside they have nothing, extends blessing to this kind of conflict. This will be enhanced by politics which set people quarrelling based on their identity. Right now, the government of Hungary is quietly observing the developments.
The article was translated by Eszter Kurtán.
This article was translated from the original in Hungarian, found at Barikad.hu — which is a far-right online media outlet.
The Minority Rights Group (MRG) has expressed its concern about the intimidation and racist threats targeting Roma residents of Gyöngyöspata, by the Szebb Jövőért Polgárőr Egyesület (Civil Guard Association for a Better Future) and the Betyársereg (Vigilante Group) recently.
So typically, yet another well-known international organization takes on the protection of the poor, oppressed Roma after the total failure of communication in the left wing.
Their report below is certainly the result of a truly objective and thorough inquiry.
According to the information of MRG the Szebb Jövőért were patrolling Gyöngyöspata by deploying its members in the village for more than two weeks. The members – wearing uniforms – were standing outside shops, telling Roma residents to stay inside their gardens, using offensive words, they were going inside the school as well as doctor’s waiting room, where Roma kids and patients were verbally harassed. Apart from the associates of Szebb Jövőért there were the Betyársereg also helping with intimidation, showing up with dogs, carrying axes and whips. (I wonder what sources are cited in the report and why there are no pictures of the alleged cases provided? – the editor)
The government has to fulfill its obligations under international human rights law and has to protect its Roma citizens from the ever increasing racially motivated hostility. Authorities have to launch criminal procedures and bring those to court who were involved in the intimidation.
„The government, which has a crucial role in the adoption of the European Roma Strategy on European Union level has to strongly and publicly reject the harassment of the Roma minority in Gyöngyöspata” said Neil Clarke, Head of Europe and Central Asia Programmes, Minority Rights Group. Furthermore, the government has to put an end to the spread of self-appointed security groups.
The Szebb Jövőért arrived to Gyöngyöspata on 1 March to ensure public order. Five days later Jobbik, which has links with Civil Guard Association and the banned Magyar Gárda (Hungarian Guard) held a protest that added to the tension against the 4-500 Roma living there. Based on the accounts, on the same evening more than 1000 members marched through the segregated Roma neighborhood of the village carrying torches and flags.
During the march the local representative of Jobbik Party made the intimidated Roma representatives sign the Rules of Living Together, which is a code of behavior regulating the Roma’s acts in schools, shops and on the streets. Many Roma residents said they have to live in constant fear caused by the harassment so they rather stay in their homes, because they are scared to go outside on the street. Parents do not let children go to school alone and as the result of intimidation and harassment many of the kids are traumatized. On 11 March in a public letter the Head of the Local Minority Government urged the Hungarian government to intervene. It is particularly outrageous that police has ignored the reports that came from the Roma residents and that policemen do not provide appropriate protection despite the constant threats. Based on the accounts the police did not patrol the Roma neighborhood, when the Roma residents were being subjected to harassment.
Publisher: Minority Rights Group Europe Non-Profit Ltd.
It is strange that the advocacy organization never notices the attacks and mass insults carried out by the Roma targeting the majority. As usual, this article is full of distortions and lies. The question arises whether any members of MRG have actually visited Gyöngyöspata and when will the enthusiastic liberal rights defenders finally ask the opinion of the honest locals living there? As far as we concerned, it is especially outrageous that it did not bother this frightened-for-a-living bunch, when the son of the local Jobbik leader was severely abused by Roma kids in the school.
Cs. G – barikad.hu