Civilian Attack on Roma in Romania

07 November 2002

According to the Romanian national daily newspaper Cotidianul of August 15, 2002, a group of Roma were attacked by over fifty ethnic Hungarians in the village of Beteşti in Harghita County. The daily reported that earlier, on July 19, 2002, a conflict had arisen between Roma and Mr Stefan Mezely over where Mr Mezely had parked his tractor. According to Cotidianul, following this incident, over fifty ethnic Hungarians from the village armed with pitchforks, axes and baseball bats went to the Romani settlement with the aim, apparently, of expelling all of the Roma from the village and setting their shacks on fire to prevent them from returning. Cotidianul reported that Special Intervention Troops stopped the attack that night. Later, on July 29, 2002, Mr Marton Farkas, Mayor of Beteşti, reportedly decided that the four Romani families, comprising forty people, would be moved to Porumbenii Mici, a neighbouring village, as a result of the events on July 19, 2002. Non-Romani residents of Porumbenii Mici protested the planned placement of the Romani families in the village and threatened that they would take justice into their own hands if the town allowed this to happen. Two days after their arrival in Porumbenii Mici, the Romani families were reportedly sent back to Beteşti. According to Cotidianul, only the women and children of the Romani families were initially accepted back into Beteşti. On August 26, 2002, Cotidianul reported that the Romani men were accepted back into Beteşti on August 24, 2002, following a meeting of the town council.



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