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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Roma folk won some support

Around 100 persons turned out for a demonstration earlier this week against the harsh criticism that’s been directed against Roma folk in Norway this summer. The show of support was supposed to take place last week, but was cancelled after its main organizer received death threats.

Elise Karlsen of Laksvåg withdrew because of the threats, which provoked another Roma supporter, Hadi Lile. He’s an Iranian-Sami researcher at the University of Oslo who, like Karlsen, drew parallels between the treatment of Roma and that of Norway’s indigenous Sami people. He organized a new rally, held on the plaza in front of Oslo’s City Hall, where tens of thousands gathered recently to honor victims of last year’s terrorist attacks and denounce racism.

Not very many of them showed up for the pro-Roma demonstration on Monday, and Lile claimed the Norwegian government needs to do more to fight intolerance. Others who took part said they were shaken by hateful comments made against Roma, who have been criticized for illegally camping in Norwegian cities and towns and aggressive begging.

Meanwhile, a conflict over an expanding Roma camp at the popular lake Sognsvann in Oslo continued this week. Landowner Statsbygg is now threatening to get a court order for its removal, since camping in the area is only allowed for two days at a time.

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