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Rights group condemns creeping anti-Roma extremism

Bucharest — A Romanian Roma rights group on Thursday condemned a growing "extremism" against the minority in European countries, according to a report.

The Romani Criss association said 2009 was the year of "reinventing extremism in Europe" adding "the situation is alarming, as extremism against Roma is gaining ground in several European countries."

"Racial violence against Roma has intensified in countries such as Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania," the organisation said.

In Hungary, four Roma were killed this year, including a young man and his five-year-old son who were shot in front of their house, which had been set on fire.

In Romania, dozens of Roma people from the central village of Sanmartin left their homes and slept in the forest following several attacks by Romanians of Hungarian origin, who accused them of "antisocial" acts. Several houses were damaged and one set on fire.

The report also highlighted cases of Romanian Roma "abusively evicted" from Italy.

Relations between Bucharest and Rome were tense in late 2008 and early 2009 after several acts of violence blamed on Romanian immigrants.

They were followed, according to several Romanian non-governmental organisations, by a wave of xenophobic aggression against Romanians in Italy, most of them of Roma origin.