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Interior minister, US ambassador visit Gyongyospata

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 13th of May 2011   Source: MTI


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Interior Minister Sandor Pinter and US ambassador to Hungary Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis on Friday visited north Hungary's Gyongyospata, the site of recent friction between radical nationalists and the local Roma community.

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The two officials witnessed a heated exchange between Roma and non-Roma locals who blamed each other for the tension. Some accused the Roma of theft and burglary, while others said that problems had started when non-Roma residents had invited and accommodated radical nationalist activists in the village.

 

After talks with local leaders, the ambassador told a press conference that the US would send law enforcement trainers to share with Hungarian police their experiences gained in a multi-cultural environment. She said she hoped this would contribute to the easing of local tensions. She also said the Hungarian government's earlier reaction to prevent the situation from escalating had made a good impression.

 

Pinter said at the press conference that the government could ensure public order through its police force, but "peace must be created by local residents". He added that the current situation must not be allowed to continue.

 

On their arrival, Pinter and Tsakopoulos Kounalakis were met by municipal and Roma leaders. They then walked around Gyongyospata and met villagers.

 

In March, activists of the For a Better Future Civil Guard Association staged patrols in Gyongyospata, in protest against what they said was a rising crime rate.

 

The situation turned critical when the paramilitary Vedero (Defence Force) organised a three-day training camp near the village's Roma neighbourhood between April 22-24.



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