Roma London celebrated International Roma Day on Saturday 8th April with a rally in front of the Bulgarian Embassy and a remembrance service at the Holocaust Memorial Gardens in Hyde Park.
The celebration began with a peaceful protest rally by Roma London who handed in a petition to the Bulgarian Embassy in London demanding the resignation of Ambassador Konstantin Dimitrov.
Ilia Kostov, Deputy Chairman of Roma London said that the purpose of the rally outside the embassy was twofold – to celebrate April 8th International Roma day and to demand the rights and recognition by the Bulgarian government of Bulgarian Roma in the UK and in Bulgaria.
“Today is April 8 and we are celebrating 46 years since that day was first established by the UN in 1971,” said Ilia Kostov.
“We at Roma London express our position that we are Bulgarian citizens of Roma origin and as such demand their rights,” he said.
“We call on the President of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Bulgarian institutions for timely intervention and appoint another ambassador who work for the name and reputation of our country (…) in the interest of all our countrymen.”
The rally then headed to the Holocaust Memorial Gardens to remember the Roma victims murdered by the Nazi regime and their fascist allies in Europe during World War Two.
Thomas Mladov, President of Roma London, spoke at the Memorial Gardens and we reproduce his speech below with kind permission of Roma London – Our News:
“Today we celebrate all Roma and celebrate worldwide”
“Today on April 8, marks 46 years since that day was established by the UN in 1971 for our International Day. Today we celebrate all Roma and celebrate worldwide. We are about 10-12 million scattered around the world.
We are everywhere and nowhere because we have no country and are distributed worldwide. But over the centuries by nomads to settlers, we have preserved our own language, history, culture and traditions. Our nation is known that we have never waged war against other nations, and because we have never dirty our hands with blood.
We have experienced a tragic past destroyed during World voynai when our ancestors and families were lit with gas burners on forests and meadows by Hitlerite Germans. And since our ancestors lived a nomadic lifestyle, they did not have identity cards or passports, no one can say how many (lost their) lives, (but historical records account for) over 800,000.
“Today in the 21st century we are still victims of prejudice, xenophobia and contemporary racism”
We lived through and endured this horror. Since ancient times, we are discriminated against, persecuted and rejected by other nations. Today in the 21st century we are still victims of prejudice, xenophobia and contemporary racism.
Roma are trusting people. We hate aggression and live in peaceful coexistence with other peoples of the world, no matter where we are. Always strive to find their place in modern society. With regret I must mention that we met throughout our great, but send us quickly. Chasing us everywhere. For this constant travel has become our sad fate. But fortunately for us our nomadic nature manifests itself in different ways, and it makes us feel free to appreciate freedom the most. Marazi hate to love and love. And ... even when we suffer or mourn we sing!
“We all Roma in the world should be proud of our history, culture and ancient traditions”
Today, we all Roma in the world should be proud of our history, culture and ancient traditions and most of our unique authenticity and Roma (identity) because we have them preserved from ancient times to today.
A day like this should unite us and lifts the spirit of our nation so that together we can fulfill the purpose the ideas and intentions of our Roma cause for a better life of Roma in a world without racism, and high education of our young generation (and) prosperity of our families.
Let today to honour our victims of World War II, the Holocaust and contemporary racism and celebrate our international day!
I congratulate all of you and all our brothers and sisters Roma worldwide. May God bless us and our friends Roma and nations that coexist. Happy holiday. I wish you good health.
Ushten romalen! Roma are a lean! Roma are a RAW! "
Roma London wish to thank all institutions, organizations, partners and friends and all who sent congratulatory messages. Especially thanks the Chief Commissioner of the European Union, Mr. Jean Claude Juncker, a doyen of the Roma movement in the world, and our dear older brother Mr. Grattan Puxon, Verendera Rishi (who brought us four Roma flags), David Lindau, Phien O’Phien, all friends from the Gypsy Council and very much our friend by IRU Mr. Normandus Rudkevich.
Report taken from ‘Roma London – Our News’.