An unhappy Easter is in prospect for the mainly Roma residents of one village in northern Hungary, from which hundreds of mostly women and children have been evacuated this weekend.
The reason why is because Gyongyospata has been chosen by extreme right-wing vigilante group Vedero as the location for a three-day paramilitary training exercise. The men have stayed behind, and a heavy police presence is on hand to ensure there is no trouble.
The Hungarian prime minister’s office says the emergency evacuation story is a “lie”, and that the 276 women and children are on a Red Cross-organised vacation. Police detained five vigilantes.
Vedero denies it is provoking the Roma, but as a group Roma are subjected to widespread hostility in Hungary. A group of men accused of killing six Roma between 2008 and 2009 went on trial earlier this month. Most vigilante groups enjoy the backing of the far-right Jobbik party, which won 46 seats in last year’s election, and says the government neglects security.
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