Roma Houses Destroyed in Romanian Town of Seica Mare

01 February 2006

According to an article posted on July 19, 2005, in the online edition of the Romanian news paper Romania Libera, on July 18, 2005 a mob of about 60 Romanians attacked and destroyed several Romani houses in Seica Mare. The violence reportedly followed a fight between six ethnic Roma and two young Romanians. The Romanians alleged that the Roma started the fight at a discotheque near the town of Seica Mare. In the brawl, the hand of one of the ethnic Romanians was broken. Following the fight, the Roma began to run to their homes, and, as they crossed the train tracks, allegedly started to curse and throw rocks at the Romanians.

According to the article, at around 2:30 AM, approximately 60 Romanian men with clubs and axes gathered and headed toward the Romani homes. Witnesses claim that the men destroyed everything in their wake, including colour TVs, windows, and even the tiles on the Romani homes. The angry mob found no one in the Roma dwellings except for an old man, whom, according to one of the Romanian participants, they proceeded to beat. Later, an ambulance took the old man away for treatment, and gendarmes arrived to settle the crowd and take declarations from everyone.

Ethnic Romanian villagers reportedly threatened further violence if the young ethnic Roma who took part in the initial brawl are not brought to justice. Romani leader Florin Cioaba urged Roma to not resort to violence. "There is a law, and the police and the gendarmes will make justice. (...) I hope our Roma people will be wise and not answer to challenges," Cioaba said.

This episode is not the first instance of inter-ethnic conflict in Seica Mare. Fourteen years ago an ethnic Roma was killed and several houses of the Roma community were set on fire when fighting erupted between Roma and Romanian residents. Police officials reportedly stated that the event was not a racial conflict and that it occurred as a result of the spontaneous clash at the discotheque.

(Romania Libera)


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