Posted on September 5, 2013

Southern Polish Town Wants Rid of Roma Community

Polskie Radio, September 4, 2013

Poland’s attorney general is investigating whether a racist crime occurred when a group of citizens in Andrychów, Małopolska province, called for the Roma (Gypsy) community there to be kicked out of the town.

“The Anti-Roma Movement of Andrychów” Facebook account received 1,500 fans in just 24 hours after it called for the 140-strong Roma community to be banished from the town in southern Poland, with a population of around 20,000.

The demand was made after a 16-year-old Roma boy beat up a Polish teenager.

Once the profile was shut down by Facebook administrators, a similar one surfaced soon after, quickly drawing 2,000 ‘likes’.

The Roma community lives in dilapidated tenement buildings in the town centre and are considered the area’s main social problem by the majority of inhabitants.

A local ‘Safe City’ committee has been established in the town, with the aim to prompt the local mayor to “stop sweeping the issue under the carpet”.

In May 2011 a Jewish cemetery was desecrated in Andrychów after graves were vandalised.

Attorney General Andrzej Seremet has said that if a racist crime has been committed then local prosecutors will act accordingly.

“The problem we are dealing with here is more complex than just being a legal issue, as it also has to do with social behaviour towards people of other nationalities and ethnicities,” Andrzej Seremet has told Polish Radio.

“I believe that if there were larger minorities in Poland, we would now be dealing with a far greater problem,” he added.

It is estimated that there are between 12 to 35,000 Roma living in Poland.