Mayor Tries to Run Off Roma With Music; Party Ensues

They eventually agree to leave, but not before thanking him for the tunes
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2014 2:33 PM CDT

(Newser) – A Belgium mayor's brilliant plan to run off a group of Roma camping in his town by playing loud music took an even more brilliant turn this morning, reports Reuters. It seems that the Roma had arrived Sunday in the town of Landen and struck an agreement to park 14 caravans til yesterday. "Since then," complains Mayor Gino Debroux, "they've said they won't leave and they're there with 30 caravans." So Debroux hired a DJ, in "a non-violent method to ask them to come to an agreement," who kicked off this morning with Dire Straits' "Sultans of Swing." The result? Television footage of Roma children dancing.

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"I want to thank the mayor," said one camper. "It's very nice that he sent a DJ for us to have a party." The music played til after midday, though Reuters notes that the Roma did eventually agree to clear out by tomorrow. But not before the stunt stirred some reaction, including the leader of the mayor's Socialist pary, who tweeted that it was "not a good idea of Landen to chase Gypsies with music," reports AP. The Minorities Forum, meanwhile, said in a statement that "loud music won't solve any problem. It will only move it elsewhere." (Read more Roma stories.)

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