Repression against Gypsies in Belgrade and protests

Message from Mon, 2 Sep 2002 : Gypsies exiled from squated land

These days Roms (gypsies) in Belgrade experienced that they don't have rights to live. Many of them live in one piece of land which 'is property' of the factory called IMT (Industry of Motors and Tractors) 15 years already. After crisis in Yugoslavia, many factories are ruined, this one also. Director decided to sell that piece of land where they are living so many years, so they don't have anywhere to go. Director stopped electricity and water for them & he put cages around them and private security guard, so when somebody go out that person can not come in back.

So, they decided to make protest and today 2.sept.'02 they came in front of town-hall of Belgrade. 200 of them & they told me that exists many more gipsy's colonies in Belgrade, but they are still not united in protest. I met them when they came in front of town-hall and after one hour some spokesman of authority come to speak with them. They said to him about director's behavior so he went with them to find him and to move bodyguards. It passed 2 hours and they didn't come back, so I had to go. Tomorrow, protest will continue...

Spokesman of authority said them that they'll try to find tomorrow solution for them, on the level of government, so tomorrow after 15 o'clock delegation of gipsies can come to government to hear what they decided and to choose one of solutions (first solution is to find some destroyed caserne, second is to put them in places for refugees, third is to wait that government build some colony for them). All three solutions are bad. Gypsies doesn't have jobs so they live from shrinking of cartoons and selling it so casernes are far away from town. Places for refugees are bad also and building of colony is long job. So, tomorrow we will see what Gypsies will (not) accept.

Message from Thu, 5 Sep 2002
Continuing of Gipsy's protest in Belgrade

Gipsies started with their protest at afternoon 2.9.'02 & still they were in front of town-hall (3.sept.'02). This afternoon somebody from Government should come to speak with them, but nobody came.

First day of protest, Gipsies refused idea of authority: to find land for people who are more that 10 years in Belgrade, but others, who arrived 'cause of wars, could go in camps where are refugees. Gipsies didn't accept this 'cause it would be separating of their community (and protest) - so authority doesn't want to speak with them. Caserne is bad solution also, 'cause it is far away from town & they must collect cartoons in order to sell it and survive.

In any case, nobody came to speak with them, cops told them that they are lucky 'cause children are with them so they can't beat them, 5 babies finished in hospital 'cause nobody came to help them with food, they slept in the park with babies... and result of it was that many people started to go back in their colony, where director said (after pressure from authority) that they can stay on that land one month yet. So, protest was ruined about 17 p.m. on 3.sept.'02.

Rebel Mouse <>

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