Hungary's far-right calls for zero tolerance against Roma

BUDAPEST Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:47pm EDT

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BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary's opposition far-right Jobbik party called on Saturday for zero tolerance against what it called Roma crime and parasitism, and said any member of the large minority who did not conform should leave the country.

Tensions between the 500,000 to 700,000 impoverished Roma and other Hungarians in the country of 10 million have risen at a time when Hungary is mired in its second recession in four years and unemployment is stuck in double figures.

"We need to roll back these hundreds of thousands of Roma outlaws. We must show zero tolerance towards Roma crime and parasitism," Jobbik chairman Gabor Vona told a rally of several hundred people in Heroes' Square in central Budapest.

"If they do not want to go, we will seek help from Brussels," said Vona, whose party - the second biggest opposition group in parliament - wants to steer Hungary out of the European Union.

"We must ask them to adopt several hundred thousand of our citizens for a few years and try to educate them in European culture. Once they have succeeded, we can welcome them back."

The Roma minority in Hungary suffers from frequent discrimination in the labor market.

On Friday, the government condemned the rally, which was staged to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the foundation of the banned paramilitary Hungarian Guard movement, a Jobbik ally.

(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Ralph Gowling)

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