Gypsy families return home to Jaen
Around 90 Gypsies have returned to their homes in Castellar, Jaen, after Saturday’s racist fights forced them to flee the town.30 October 2008
CASTELLAR - Under the protection of Civil Guard officers, Gypsy families have started to return to their homes in Castellar, Jaen, after being run out of town at the weekend by other villagers who blame them for rising crime.
Around 90 Gypsies from four different families are thought to have fled the town after non-Gypsies turned on them on Saturday night following a fight between youths.
The villagers stoned the Gypsies' homes, shouted racist slogans and demanded they leave. Many fled with only a few possessions, most of them to the neighbouring town of Villanueva del Arzobispo.
"We've come back for clothes for the children but we'll see whether we stay or go," Luis García, the head of a family known as the Tete clan, said.
Extra Civil Guard officers, called in from other towns in the inland Andalusian province, patrolled the streets and stood guard near the Gypsies' homes.
So far only one person, a Gypsy, has been arrested, charged with making death threats against other villagers during the violent disturbances at the weekend.
Another Gypsy man, who has yet to return to the town, is wanted for questioning by police for allegedly hitting the children of other villagers during the Saturday-night scuffle that triggered the clashes.
Local officials said they are working with both sides to prevent a repeat of the violence. The head of the Spanish Romani Union, Juan de Dios Ramírez-Heredia, has asked authorities to protect the Gypsies from further violence. "Racism can easily be ignited," he warned.
[El Pais / Expatica]