In early August 2012, Greek residents of the town of Aitoliko (or Aetolico) clashed with some Roma residents of the area. In his letter below, Vasileios Mpekos, a roma male arrested during the events, gives his view of what happened.
The recent events in Aetolico, begun with the gathering of som local residents at the western roadbridge. These residents where not gathered under a peaceful context, since they were carrying firearms, molotov cocktails, clubs etc.
Their march to the area where the Roma leave, brought the second ones to a defensive stance, defending their lives and properties. It was the residents of Aetolico that marched against the Roma with hostile intentions, and not the Roma against these residents. Thus, penal code offenses were commited by both sides, but unfortunatelly all arrests were made from one side, the weaker one, the one in defence, the side of the Roma. The molotov cocktails and the shotguns on the Aetoliko residents’ side were ignored. No arrests were made from the Aetoliko residents’ side that displayed illegal behaviour, such as obstruction of transport, possession and use of firearms etc.
This impunity resulted to their embolding to go even further and gather outside the Courthouse of Mesologgi with clubs and helmets and to give, without the police officers even bothering them, the impression that the residents have taken the law into their hand, trying to knock down the gate of the Courthouse, again without any arrests made. Why mr. Director those double standards? You couldn’t perform arrests to set an example and prove that you are a Police Authority for all Greek citizens, and not just to punish the Roma as if they are second class citizens? You can take the material from the media, if you have not proper knowledge of these events and find the instigators of the clashes, to administer justice.
This text was written ten days ago, but instead of peace and contemplation, the residents of Aetolico continue the provocations, and on 29-8-2012 attacked our shettlement with stones and molotov cocktails, something that means to say that they are the State and we are just some defenseless citizens inside our own country.
If this is not how things are, you can prove that we are all Greeks, equall to all, with the same rights and obligations.
This is the cry of anguish of a Roma, who struggles to defuse the tension and strive for the peaceful coexistance without hostilities and clashes, and who without doing anything wrong was deprived of his freedom, for trying to get in the middle and avert what was going to happen.
Aghios Stephanos prisons,