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Neo-Nazis return to Hungarian village, provoke brawl with Roma residents (vom 28.04.2011),
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[28. Apr 2011]

Neo-Nazis return to Hungarian village, provoke brawl with Roma residents

On the evening of 27th of April 2011, in the northern Hungarian village of Gyöngyöspata a fight took place between a group of radical nationalists and local Roma residents.

Four people were injured, one seriously. Those injured included a 14-year-old mentally disabled boy.

As news server Romea.cz previously reported, last Friday Roma residents of the village evacuated almost 300 children and women over concerns they would be attacked by members of the extremist paramilitary organization Véderő (Defense), which had started building a training camp near the village. Police arrested the group's leader and several of its members and dispersed the camp. The Roma residents then returned to the village. However, AFP reports that the arrested extremists were released and started returning to the camp as well.

The director in Hungary of the Foundation for Roma Civil Rights, Aladar Horváth, said yesterday's clashes broke out after Véderö members in military field dress, supported by their adherents from among the non-Roma residents of the village, started provoking Roma residents during the day by throwing stones at one of their homes. Fights broke out during which police intervened and arrested several people. According to news server eurozpravy.cz, the head of the extremist organization, Tamás Eszes, claims Roma residents attacked him with metal bars and stakes. According to Roma activist László Csemera, the paramilitary unit members were carrying firearms and threatening the Roma residents with them.

For several weeks, radical groups have been organizing patrols of several villages in the north and northeast of the country, a region afflicted by great poverty and unemployment. They claim it is their obligation "to renew public order in areas with high crime rates".

Former Hungarian PM Ferenc Gyurcsány (Socialists) has offered the Roma community in Gyöngyöspata one million forints. Through his Facebook profile yesterday evening he stated that the money is intended for the "evacuation, transportation or asylum" of the Roma residents. "The problem in Gyöngyöspata is not a Roma one, but a Nazi one," he wrote. "Nazi groups whose members believe they are the 'real' Hungarians pose a threat to us all. The intensifying drama in Gyöngyöspata will soon become a nationwide tragedy if we do not quickly intervene."

Police closed off entire streets at some places in the village today and have started criminal proceedings in the matter of the mass riot. The Véderő group started sending its patrols to Gyöngyöspata last month, claiming they wanted to "renew order" in the village. Local police refused to intervene against them even though the Roma residents complained to them more than once that they were being terrorized. The Hungarian Press Agency has reported that Roma from the village have contacted the US Embassy as a group with the intention of requesting asylum in the USA.

Article published first on 27. April 2011 @ :: romea.cz (Sources: Czech Press Agency, cas.sk, eurozpravy.cz, zk; translated by Gwendolyn Albert).