Roma Nation Day

© 2005 Peter Marshall
Roma Nation Day march in London, 2005

The atmosphere of this year’s Roma Nation Day march in London this year was very different from that I photographed a few years ago. Then the march seemed almost entirely to me made up of Roma, with many women and children among them, and few non-Roma.

© 2005 Peter Marshall
Children lead Roma Nation Day march in London, 2005

It is an event that celebrates the first World Roma Congress which was held in the UK in 1971, and remembers the genocide of around 500,000 Roma and Sinti in the Nazi holocaust. In 2005 the event began with a service in St James’s Piccadilly, after which they marched through central London, harassed rather by the police (and I was threatened with arrest) to keep moving fast.) But little has changed. In 2005 I wrote:

Roma from several countries marched across London against the ethnic-cleansing of 30,000 gypsies from their own land and in protest over threatened evictions at Dale Farm, Essex, Smithy Fen, Cambridgeshire, and elsewhere.

At Dale Farm, evictions finally went ahead last year and made the national news – and further evictions have followed there more recently with rather less publicity. This year at the protest there were Roma from Europe where the persecution of Roma appears also to have intensified, but there were few Roma women and children to be seen.There were also noticeably more non-Roma supporters, including some of those protesters who had been at Dale Farm and opposed the evictions.

© 2012, Peter Marshall
Grattan Puxon speaking in the Holocaust Memorial Garden in Hyde Park, 2012

This year the march started in Hyde Park, and went to the Holocaust Memorial Garden there, where after brief speeches, flowers were laid. From there the group visited several embassies of countries where the civil rights of Roma are under attack to protest outside them.

© 2012, Peter Marshall
Leaving the French embassy, 2012

© 2012, Peter Marshall
Outside the Bulgarian Embassy

You can read more about this year’s march at Roma Nation Day Of Resistance.


My London Diary : Buildings of London : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated are by Peter Marshall and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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