New attacks on Roma
08th of April 2009
Night before last night (night between 6. and 7. April) at 2:30 after midnight a group of neonazis attacked Roma settlement near "Shopping mall" in open air (flee market) in New Belgrade.
According to the words of witnesses, 20-30 attackers drove with 2 vans and they were armed with knifes and metal sticks. With words "We will move you" they attacked a group of children, women, and men who were sitting outside. Few children were beaten up and one young man got serious injuries when he was hit by a bottle in his head. Few older people collapsed in fear and panic that was produced. Neonazis run away only after 50 man from nearby barracks organized themselves to defend the settlement. Present policemen (5-6 policemen who were patrolling in the settlement) didn't react - their excuse was that "they do not have a right to intervene".
Journalists who were next morning (as all these days) reporting from Roma slums didn't report about this incident.
(People with whom we talked informed us about one more attack by neonazis that happened few months ago. Back then, Molotov cocktails were thrown on barracks in the nearby slum in the moment when people were inside of the barracks. One child was seriously injured by serious burns and died because of them.)
Earlier on the same day, 6th April, at 9 o clock in the morning one more incident happened in the settlement Resnik. Roma live here in the refugee's shelter on the periphery of that settlement. Unknown group of people set the forest and meadow nearby the shelter on fire. Firefighters showed up and stopped the fire only when it was almost reaching the building of the shelter. People are afraid to leave the shelter because they have to organize themselves in group in order to defend it.
The shelter where 46 families are living is the constant target of threats and attacks. Groups of 10-15 persons usually take part in the attacks. People are afraid for the safety of the children in the schools, and they are even afraid to go alone to the local shops. There is no trust in police because they were often broad in the police stations and beaten up during informative talks.
Translation: Ivana Marjanovic, Kontekst gallery