Roma must be protected from violence during far-right paramilitary demonstration in Törökszentmiklós

Brussels, 21 May 2019 - On 21 May the ultra-right and paramilitary Our Homeland movement is planning a demonstration in Törökszentmiklós, claiming to “protect peaceful citizens from Roma terror”, following an incident in this town. The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) strongly condemns this march, which clearly incites violence towards the Roma community. Although it has been banned by authorities, the group has announced that it will go ahead regardless. We therefore call on police authorities to ensure Roma citizens’ safety and protection from violence.

This demonstration is clearly based on negative biases against Roma people. Its goal is to fuel conflict and division between Roma and non-Roma people and to gain political influence using racism as a tool.

This is not the first time that far-right paramilitary groups initiate demonstrations targeting Roma. In previous years, the now dissolved Magyar Garda regularly organised such events, leading to violence, and even murder – of innocent Roma people.

Criminal acts are handled by law enforcement authorities, not by self-ascribed paramilitary groups targeting a specific community. The perpetrator of the criminal incident in Törökszentmiklós is under arrest.

For all these reasons we ask citizens to avoid and to not support this event. ENAR is in solidarity with the Roma people who have to experience racist violence and asks the Hungarian authorities to protect Roma people and to prevent racist provocations.

The European Network Against Racism (ENAR aisbl) stands against racism and discrimination and advocates equality and solidarity for all in Europe. We connect local and national anti-racist NGOs throughout Europe and voice the concerns of ethnic and religious minorities in European and national policy debates. More information: www.enar-eu.org.

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