Hungarian Roma Flee From Far-Right Group

Police in Hungary have arrested several members of a far-right vigilante group who forced hundreds of Roma women and children to flee their village.

The Hungarian Red Cross said it had evacuated 277 people from Gyongyospata after the Vedero, or Defence Force, chose the village as the location for a training camp.

The local Roma were said to be concerned about potential confrontations with members of the group.

“We are afraid and we have reason to be,”said Janos Farkas, chairman of the local Roma council.

“For the past nearly two months, Gyongyospata has been practically a battlefield.”

The government, however, said the Red Cross was taking the families on a pre-planned holiday and the suggestion they were evacuated for security concerns was a clear political provocation.

Leader Tamas Eszes was arrested in the incident

Police arrested the leader of the group, Tamas Eszes who was wearing red beret, heavy boots and camouflage gear with what appeared to be German military insignia.

Several far-right vigilante groups, usually dressed in military-like uniforms, have been patrolling the village, and others in eastern Hungary that have large Roma populations, with the stated purpose of defending the non-Roma residents from Gypsy crime.

Mr Farkas said that members of Vedero who went to the village in the north of Hungary last week to scout a location for their training camp had shouted violent threats at the Roma.

Police vans started entering the village after the buses had gone, and several hundred officers, many in riot gear, could be seen in the area.

Vedero leader Mr Eszes said his group was not racist, had not taken part in anti-Roma village patrols and had no connection to any political party.

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