After Election of Jobbik Mayor

Adding Fuel to the Fire? – Hungarian Town Famous for Neo-Nazi Invasion during the Spring Elects Neo-Nazi Mayor

Posted on July 18, 2011

Is it going to have any retroactive impact on how we might remember the events of the spring – during which zealous neo-nazi militias patrolled the streets of Gyöngyöspata as part of a campaign of intimidation directed at the town’s Roma population – that this weekend the village elected a neo-nazi mayor? Read more.

Jobbik Mayor vs. Fidesz MP: Tarantula Dreams of Being Butterfly, Does Not Want to Be Eaten While Cocoon

Posted on July 25, 2011

Weekend of  July 23-24, 2011: Scandal Around Newly Elected Jobbik Mayor, and Viktor Orbán Gives Another Speech at Tusnádfürdő.  Read more.

Mandatory Public Work Projects in Hungary

Posted on August 22, 2011

“We would like to give them valuable and useful work,” said Károly Papp, undersecretary of Hungary’s Department of the Interior, the public officer in charge of Hungary’s public works program. “Workers are going to learn agriculture for a year, and animal-husbandry for another,” he added for clarification. As for the value they are to produce, it could not be more immediate: ”after adequate training, the workers should be able to produce goods that may be used in feeding the local public.” Read more.

No Indictments in Gyöngyöspata Hate Crimes 

Posted on October 16, 2011

TASZ, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) recently found out that none of the cases it brought against extremist vigilantes who menaced the Romani population of Gyöngyöspata during the spring resulted in indictments for hate crimes. One of the cases involve two far-right “civil” guards (most likely members of Betyársereg) who entered two houses belonging to the Romani of the town, with an axe and a whip in hand, yelling obscenities and threats (“I am going to build my new house right here on this row on out of your blood”). The couple also engaged menacing acts, one of which brought the blade of the axe within less than an inch of the head of a two-year-old child. A third case involved two men who threw two fit-sized stones through the window of one of the houses populated by Romani while yelling “You are going to die stinky lousy gypsies if you do not move out of [Gyöngyös]Pata!”

The fourth case of a pregnant woman who gave birth prematurely after being chased by uniformed vigilantes concluded without charges being brought in August. In the rest of the cases, the police downgraded the criminal category under investigation, from the Hungarian equivalent of a hate crime to a mere “violation.”

Because the police neglected to notify the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union of these decisions, the non-profit human rights watchdog organization was prevented from advising or acting on behalf of their clients in the capacity of their legal representative.

Mandatory Work Project Participants Paid 20-30% of Wages in Gyöngyöspata

Published on October 28, 2011

Disconcerting details are being reported about Gyöngyöspata’s “model mandatory work project.” Four out of the 40 workers had been fired: for two days, they accepted seasonal work (at three times the wages they would have been paid by the government) and were terminated from the program for non-attendance. One of the consequences of their termination is that they also forfeited their eligibility for unemployment-related social benefits for the next three years.

The remaining workers have had their wages garnished for “public dues.” Most of these debts were incurred as penalties issued for violating various rules of the town. Next to a portion of the sidewalk impassable with a baby carrier, Roma women had been issued tickets for 12, 20 or 50 thousand HUF for pushing their strollers on the street. Another woman whose nine-year-old girl picked up “a twig suitable to serve as a weapon” from the street was fined 25,000 HUF. Most Roma families owe more than 100,000 HUF for similar violations in the town currently under the governance of the far-right.

The Hungarian government introduced a mandatory labor program in which unemployment benefits are earned by physical, non-mechanized agricultural labor this summer – the program currently employs about 4,000, almost all of whom are from the country’s Roma minority. The participants in the program are the only workers in Hungary who are legally paid under the minimum wage (78,000 HUF a month gross, 62,000 net) and, in Gyöngyöspata at least, they are also the only employees who have as much as 70 to 80% of their wages taken out of their earnings.

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