Belgrade, 5 April 2009 – Some 50 Boljevci residents last night prevented a group of Roma families evicted from their shanty town in New Belgrade from spending the night there.

The dislocated Roma were to be given temporary accommodation in housing containers placed in this neighborhood. But the Boljevci locals blocked the road and threatened to set on fire three containers there at the time. There were no serious incidents, mostly because only representatives of the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights, OSCE and the World Health Organization were there.

The Romas, who lived in an illegal settlement where 50 out of 350 ramshackle homes were razed to the ground by bulldozers on Friday, were not at the scene of the protests. They instead spent another night without a roof over their heads waiting for the issue of their accommodation to be solved.

Belgrade city authorities, which ordered the demolitions in order to make way for an access road to be used in the Student Games 2009, yesterday met with international organizations and ministries, and agreed to provide temporary accommodation.

Mayor Dragan Đilas announced on Sunday that he would ask the police to launch an investigation against the persons who had set fire to container houses planned for temporary accommodation of the Roma in Boljevci last night.

At the emergency press conference called over the case, Đilas said that the Roma from the razed settlement will temporarily be accommodated in centers for abandoned and orphaned children in different parts of Belgrade, as well as in nursing homes.

Đilas announced a meeting with OSCE and UNHCR representatives Monday in Belgrade so as to find a solution to the problem.

Source: B92, Tanjug