12.04.2019April 11: Fear for the Children in Gabrovo
Roma people in Gabrovo do not believe the words of Deputy Prime Minister Karakachanov that "the situation in Gabrovo is under control" and the few of them, who remained in the city are afraid of their lives. Many Roma left the city and moved temporarily to their relatives' homes in other municipalities, after five Roma houses that had nothing to do with the crime / beating of April 7 were ruined by protesters on April 10th .
The colleagues from the Amalipe team in Gabrovo say that:
- there is a great fear among the Roma - not only concerning their property, but also for their lives and the lives of their children. There were children in the houses that were ruined (and one, burned in flames) previous night. It was real luck that they did not suffer any harm. The presence of gendarmerie brings a slight reassurance, but there are also "ultras" in the city that are threatening with self-government. The overall social environment is highly hostile;
- most of the children were not at school today, and the rest were advised to be absent by the end of the week: at Amalipe Center's suggestion and with a decision by the City Council in 2018, the Roma school in the city was closed and the children were integrated into all schools in Gabrovo. The created tension threatens to frustrate the whole process of integration of Roma children in the new schools;
- most of the Roma working in the cleaning sector were not at work that day. Only a few people guarded by the gendarmerie cleared the square, but there would be a serious problem with cleanliness in the city if the current situation persists;
- the victims whose homes were attacked yesterday claim that they have nothing to do with the three recidivists who committed the beating on April 7th. They are convinced that young people who have broken their houses and threatened the lives of their children will not be punished because the law does not apply to all;
- uninhabitable and dangerous for living municipal dwellings destined for demolition were destroyed today;
- and now there are families in Gabrovo who are native and have no relatives outside the city to go to. They are awaiting new protests, because the Internet is overwhelmed by threats and mob law intimidation. The worst situation was of families having young children (one of them - a 20-day-old baby) with which Amalipe Center has been in constant contact today, seeking alternatives for support.
Gabrovo is one of the cities with the least Roma population in Bulgaria. According to the 2011 census, only 343 out of 55387 living in the city are identified as Roma. Even if we add some of the 473 citizens who identified themselves as Turks, that does not change the fact that from hundred Gabrovo citizens, only one is Roma. There is also the fact that there is no Roma neighborhood in Gabrovo. Roma community representatives live in different parts of the city, and there is not much crowding, like in other cities. Some of the families are housed in municipal dwellings - also in different parts of the city.