Protest over Roma relocation leaves 14 hurt

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SOME 14 people have been hurt in clashes between policemen and stone-hurling rioters protesting at the building of a Gypsy settlement in a Belgrade suburb.

Serbian police said 12 officers and two protesters were hurt in the clashes in the village of Resnik. About 20 protesters were arrested. Police were trying to protect the construction of a permanent housing settlement for the Gypsies, or Roma, who are to be moved from their slum homes in central Belgrade.

Belgrade mayor Dragan Djilas appealed for an end to the protests, saying 20 Roma families that are to be moved to the village “won’t jeopardise anyone”.

There are about 500,000 Gypsies living in Serbia – around 7 per cent of the population. They often face harassment from Serbian extreme nationalist groups.

A Belgrade court yesterday confirmed a two-year suspended prison sentence for a man who hurled a fire bomb into one of the houses prepared for a gypsy family that was resettled from Belgrade to another Serbian village in 2009.