State of impunity: Once again Slovak police attack a Roma neighbourhood

Graeme Atkinson - 29 05 17

Controversy has followed the release by the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) of a video recording of a brutal attack by Slovak police on the Romani neighbourhood of Zborov. The video of the incident, which took place on 16 April, shows police indiscriminately beating men, women and children.

Three people required medical assistance: a five-year-old boy, an elderly woman with disabilities, and a 40-year-old man with a heart condition. The police temporarily blocked an ambulance that arrived to treat the injured.

Witnesses who filmed the incident were later visited by police officers and made to delete their footage. Our source refused to do so, and after ERRC published it, the video was posted on the Facebook site of public TV channel RTVS and several other Slovak media outlets. Police President, Tibor Gašpar commented that “several of these interventions seem quite inappropriate”, and sent the video on for police investigation.

This is not the first incident of aggressive police action against Roma. Brutal police raids in 2013 in Moldava nad Bodvou and Drienovec, and two years ago in the village of Vrbnica prompted international condemnation.

The sense of impunity among police has no doubt been strengthened by Prime Minister Fico’s attack on political correctness and the media, when he declared last December, that the government will “put things in order” in Roma settlements.

Promising an increased deployment of police, Fico said he was ready for conflict with the Ombudsman over the issue, and declared “Enough with tolerance.”

This kind of rhetoric actively encourages aggressive racist policing and ethnic profiling, and deploying more officers will only worsen tensions.  As ERRC President Đorđe Jovanović said yesterday: “We do not want more officers whose idea of good police work is brutalising minority communities in these locations.”


Stay informed

Sign up for emails from HOPE not hate to make sure you stay up to date with the latest news, and to receive simple actions you can take to help spread HOPE.


We couldn't do it without our supporters

Fund research, counter hate and support and grow inclusive communities by donating to HOPE not hate today

I am looking for...


Useful links

Close Search X
Donate to HOPE not hate