Europe's Roma are facing a wave of racist attacks. But, argues Daniela Manske, the oppression of Europe's largest ethnic minority is no new phenomenon. As the economic crisis in Europe deepens, challenging anti-Roma racism is a vital task for socialists.
In spring last year paramilitary gangs roamed several Hungarian villages with dogs and whips following anti-Roma marches in "defence of ethnic Hungarians". The fascist "Movement for a Better Hungary", better known as Jobbik, organised the marches. Jobbik came third in recent national elections. One march, in the Hungarian village of Gyöngyöspata, attracted 2,000 Jobbik supporters, and over Easter 300 Roma were evacuated in anticipation of another paramilitary attack.