Neighbours Petition to Prevent Roma from Purchasing a Nearby House in Hungary
13 November 2006
On 4 May 2006, the Budapestbased Roma Press Center (RSK) reported that 18 residents of Szent László Street in the southwestern Hungarian town of Nagyberény petitioned the town's mayor to prevent a Romani family from purchasing a home on their street. Mr Mihály Nagy, his wife and seven children had been living with his family in a small house on the same street in extremely cramped quarters when they decided to purchase the home on the other side of the street.
According to RSK, Mr Nagy had already made a purchase agreement with the house's owner to buy when their neighbors sent their petition to the town council protesting against them moving into the neighborhood. One Szent László Street resident reportedly told the RSK that they are protesting against the Nagy family moving into the neighborhood because "there are too many of them", they are messy, and the signers of the petition did not want their street to "turn into a Gypsy settlement" – thus decreasing the value of their houses. While the neighborhood already had a Roma family living there, the non-Roma residents reportedly stated that they were OK because there are fewer of them and they are "normal".
The mayor of the city reportedly informed the petitioners that the Hungarian Constitution guarantees freedom of movement and that there is no legal basis for preventing the family from buying the house.