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Panic breaks out in a Hungarian Roma community [Hungarian Free Press]

Panic broke out on Tuesday in the eastern Hungarian town of Tiszavasvári, with parents storming into the local school and kindergarten to take home children, as news spread that the local municipal government, led by far-right mayor Erik Fülöp, was planning to take Roma children into state care. According to official statistics, 9% of the town’s population of 12,840 is of Roma origins. This data, stemming from the 2001 census, almost certainly underestimates the real proportion of Roma in Tiszavasvári, located in Hungary’s economically disadvantaged Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county.


Széles road, Tiszavasvári
Photo: Németh Dániel / Magyar Narancs

The situation in Tiszavasvári deteriorated when Mayor Fülöp, affiliated with the Jobbik party, decided to task an extremist group called the Association of the Legion of Honour (Becsület Légiója Egyesület) to serve as a municipal security force. The association is run by another prominent far-right mayor, Mihály Zoltán Orosz, from Érpatak. The contract, signed on Monday, stipulates that the Legion of Honour would have a role in child welfare and social service cases as well. Many local Roma, not without reason, took this to mean that local authorities  were looking for ways to take Roma children away from their parents and put them under state care.

According to a report published by the Roma Press Center (Roma Sajtóközpont), parents stormed into local schools, with one teacher noting that absolutely nothing that the school said could calm them down and deter them from removing their kids from school. Several hundred people in the local Roma community also organized a spontaneous protest outside the town hall earlier today.

Much of Tiszavasvári’s Roma population lives in a dilapidated area of town along Széles Road. See full article here.

Source: Hungarian Free Press / Christopher Adam


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