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Roma community center vandalised in Łódź, Poland

10 September 1998

According to articles appearing in the Polish and international press, as well as information provided by the organisation itself, the offices of the Roma Information and Counseling Center in the Polish city of Łódź were broken into and vandalised on July 3, 1998. Along with racist graffiti and swastikas sprayed on the office walls, the perpetrators left behind their signature as NOP - Narodowe Odrodzenie Polski, a right-wing extremist organisation in Poland. The same group reportedly vandalised the Łódź premises of the Jehovah's Witnesses religious group during the same night.

According to Romnews Network, after the Center staff reported the incident to the police, the police public relations officer Ms Jadwiga Kosiak replied that there was no reason to press charges against the NOP. Mr Andrzej Wiśniewski, chairman of the Roma Information and Counseling Center, told the ERRC that police attempted to downplay the incident by telling him that the perpetrators were "only some young people". They nevertheless stated that their officers would guard the building. Wiśniewski told Romnews that, "Right-wingers attack Roma and the law shows no interest in following up such racially motivated crimes. One is increasingly led to believe that the legal system, police and extremist nationalists are somehow working together for a 'Gypsy-free Poland'". Romnews also reports that during 1996, three Roma were murdered in the Łódź area, and the culprits have not been identified yet.

(ERRC, Romnews Network, Roma Information and Counseling Center, Ekspres Ilustrowany, Dziennik Łódzki)

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