Skinhead-Roma tension in N Hungary village during festival

August 6
Police have stepped up presence in a N Hungary village near Budapest where a fight broke out between skinheads and local Roma late on Wednesday.

The village of Veroce was full of young people attending a festival called Magyar Sziget (Hungarian Island) on Wednesday, featuring nationalist and skinhead bands and programmes associated with Hungary’s radical nationalist Jobbik party. Some youth were reported to have beaten up a young Roma boy and a pregnant woman in the village. The youth were wearing T-shirts with the print “White Hungary” and threatened “to kill every Roma in the village,” local Roma spokesman, Istvan Gaspar, told MTI.

The festival started early this week and runs through next Monday.

Police have closed off a street inhabited by Roma and asked the festival organisers to channel festival traffic in a different direction.

Local police spokeswoman Viktoria Kovacs told MTI that no fight had been reported to the police but patrolling would be stepped up in the village.

Gaspar said the local Roma community has organised a night watch to protect their families.

The incident has stoked tension in the wake of an attack killing a Roma woman and severely injuring her teenage daughter in their northeast Hungary home earlier this week.

Since July last year, six Roma people have been murdered and 49 others injured in attacks on homes mostly on the outskirts of small villages across the country.

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