Europe’s culture capital builds segregation wall

By • on July 26, 2013

The Slovak city of Kosice, one of Europe’s 2013 Capitals of Culture, is building a wall to segregate its Roma community, The Economist writes, noting a trend to justify walling off the Roma by identifying them as a security threat.

The magazine writes that officials in one of the city’s administrative divisions spent approximately 5,000 euros to build the barrier. Previously, they had cut off water to the neighborhood over unpaid bills.

An apartment house in Lunik IX, a Kosice neighborhood with a large Roma population. Photo by sylvia/flickr.


Other Slovak towns with Roma communities are making similar moves. Since 2008 some 14 walls and fences have been erected in the country, according to the magazine.

Although the walls are ostensibly meant to fight the perceived criminality that comes with a Roma community, a mayor of one town where a wall was erected two years ago told The Economist, “The situation in the village is worse and the walls, which were built two years ago, didn’t solve the problems.”

Recently, an anti-Roma rally turned violent in neighboring Czech Republic.  Discrimination and violence against Roma people is still widespread throughout Central Europe. In Hungary and the Czech Republic, Roma have had their houses set afire or been evicted en masse.