January 27, 2017

Offensive Graffiti and Swastikas Deleted in PS Gjorgji Sugarev in Bitola

After the public announcement of the case of discrimination and hate speech expressed through painted swastikas and graffiti “Death to Gypsies” and “Die Gypsies” on the walls of the PS Gjorgji Sugarev in Bitola, which called for violence against the Roma community, PS Gjorgji Sugarev immediately began deleting, i.e. painting over the inscribed messages and drawn swastikas.

The Helsinki Committee greets the school’s immediate reaction, but at the same time, urges for taking preventive measures against such incidents in the future. In regard to the tendency for cohabitation, tolerance and mutual respect regardless of ethnic, religious or any other affiliation, we require that Bitola, as a municipality with jurisdiction over PS Gjorgji Sugarev, strengthens the supervision over the school which would provide protection for students attending that school and identification of potential perpetrators of this type or similar types of activities.

In addition, the municipality should take measures for raising the citizens’ awareness for ethnic, religious, and cultural tolerance and coexistence.