“GYONGYOSPATA, HUNGARY—They called themselves a neighbourhood watch.
On March 1, 2011, at least 2,000 members of a right-wing paramilitary group called the Civil Guard Association for a Better Future rolled into this sleepy former coal-mining village 80 kilometres east of Budapest.
Wearing black uniforms and hats, they pledged to help police maintain law and order and stamp out “Gypsy criminality.”
About 450 of Gyongyospata’s 2,800 residents are Roma, members of a nomadic tribe believed to have immigrated to Europe from northern India perhaps a thousand years ago. With their dark skin and cloistered culture, Roma have struggled to fit in across the continent.
The paramilitary members lingered in front of Roma homes in Gyongyospata with snarling dogs, lit torches and whips. They waved red and white flags similar to those flown by the Arrow Cross Party — Nazi sympathizers — during World War II.
“Dirty Gypsies! We should exterminate all the Roma and their children,” one paramilitary member screamed in a scene that was captured on mobile phone video and later showed to a visitor.”