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Radicals "patrol" town in E Hungary

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 12th of April 2011   Source: MTI


This article is archive

Radical nationalists on Tuesday launched a "civil patrol" of a town in eastern Hungary heavily populated by Roma.

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Gergely Rubi, a deputy of the Jobbik party, told MTI the two-week patrol involved 200 members of the Better Future Civil Patrol Association, protesting against "increasing crime in the region".    

 

No clashes with the local population had taken place, MTI's correspondent said.

 

Several patrols have been held in villages over the past two months.

 

The police said in a statement that 40 members of the association were present in the town.

 

 "The county police is providing enhanced police protection in the area," the statement by the local county police headquarters. "Keeping public order is a state monopoly which only the police have authority over," it added.

 

Better Future Civil Patrol Association is associated with radical nationalist party Jobbik, whose leader, Gabor Vona, is scheduled to address protesters in the town on Sunday.

 

Rubi said the campaign responded to calls by local residents for better police protection against theft. He insisted that the police only deployed a single patrolling officer to cover three villages, including vast areas of farmland.

 

Similar demonstrations in Gyongyospata and Hejoszalonta, also in the poor northeast of the country, have taken place recently.

 

Green opposition party Politics Can Be Different (LMP) and civil organisations held a counter-protest in Hejoszalonta with the aim of protecting the local Roma population and called on the government to prevent similar campaigns by far right organisations.

 

In Hejoszalonta, radical demonstrators complained about what it called "Gypsy crime".

 

The centre-right government has said it will not allow "anyone to claim a monopoly on violence". Law and order is solely the responsibility of the police, Zoltan Balog, state secretary for social cohesion, said last week.



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