Stereotypical Romani Images Portrayed in Greek Olympic Closing Ceremony

16 December 2004

According to ERRC research, conducted in partnership with the Athens-based non-governmental organisation Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM), officials in charge of the 2004 Olympics in Greece deemed to include non-Romani artists portraying very stereotypical images of Roma in the closing ceremonies of the 2004 Olympics in Athens on August 29, 2004. At the closing ceremony, several non-Romani women danced around a car full of watermelons to Romani music; the purported contribution of Roma to modern Greek culture. The exclusion of Roma themselves from the closing ceremonies mirrors the actual state of Romani/non-Romani relations in the country.

The situation of Roma with respect to the Olympic Games received widespread international media coverage; focusing on the adverse impact of the Games on the housing rights situation of Roma and the lack of improvement in this area despite promises.

(ERRC, GHM)

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