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live Roma revolt against the demolition of a camp

30 September 2014 / 09:09:41  GRReporter
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Dozens of Roma in the Athens suburb of Halandri have been protesting since morning against the municipality's decision to tear down their camp. The Roma set fire to barrels, blocked one of the central avenues of Athens, which is Mesogeion and said they will not allow the municipal excavators to reach the camp.

The Roma state they are opposing the argument of the district administration that the camp was built illegally, referring to the fact that they all are registered residents of Halandri and, under the law, have the right to reside in the municipality.
The Roma families living in the camp are 74 in number. Some of them settled there in the late 1970s and many of the children attend the local schools.
The decision to tear down the camp was taken by the general secretary of Attica last November, despite the temporary decision of the UN Council on human rights. The order issued in May 2013 urged the Greek authorities to take preventive measures in relation to leaving Roma families homeless.
According to the decision of the district administration, the Roma should move to an old military NATO base in the northwestern Megara suburb. The Roma are opposing the measure because the location is remote and they will not have access to schools and health institutions.

The camp demolition has been postponed after a meeting held in the local police station with the Deputy District Governor, Mayor of Halandri and the representative of the Roma who have decided to only destroy 12 buildings that are uninhabitable as shown by the data of the Urban Planning service in northern Attica.

The Deputy District Governor said he is ready to cancel the relocation of the Roma in the mountain region of Pateras near Megara for a long time and help the Mayor of Halandri to determine a new place to accommodate the Roma.

Despite the arrangement, however, it is not yet clear when the 12 buildings will be demolished, which, according to the Roma and the University of Athens, are inhabited.

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