News of possible evictions of the Roma community “La Baraci” from Mangalia first reached me at the end of August 2014. My initial contact with the community happened at the beginning of September. At the time many people in the community claimed the mayor promised to relocate them in a newly refurbished social housing complex so they hand nothing to fear.

In May 2015 hundreds of people received notifications from the mayor — if they don’t pay their outstanding local debts and the incurred penalties (three times bigger than the debt itself) the city-hall will take them to court and ask for their eviction. 

While forced evictions are common practice throughout Romania, in Mangalia, the mayor considered a legal action to recover debts as a way to target Roma people without making it look like ethnical forced evictions. 

In 2015 I revisited the community and I brief Amnesty International about their situation while advising the community to talk to the municipality and try to obtain a schedule of gradual payment as this might deter the court case. 

On September 15, 2017 I received word about the ongoing eviction of at least 13 families. I once again alerted Amnesty International and local NGO’s urging them to take action and prevent a new wave of evictions scheduled for Monday 18, 2017.

Given the existence of a court order and the virtually inexistent social protection in Romania, the already evicted people, and soon enough the rest of the community, will be left with just the skies above their heads. Among those evicted is a mother of ten. Allegedly, during the evictions, Mrs. Amet Eatma (75) died of a heart attack after being abruptly urged by the riot police forces (accompanied by their utility dogs) to clear the street and retreat inside her home together with her grandchildren. The tragic event might force the city-hall and the riot police forces to postpone for hours, if not for days, the second wave of evictions. 

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