Belgrade Mayor Aleksandar Sapic said that he had not discriminated against anyone nor had he referred to the entire Roma community when speaking about substandard Roma settlements in a statement on March 11, which has triggered much criticism.
On March 11, Sapic said that “integration of the Roma into a normal life is impossible unless they want to be integrated,” adding that most of them had no residence in Belgrade but wished to live near downtown, because, he said, they were collecting secondary raw material, begging at traffic lights, stealing and disturbing citizens...
“The City of Belgrade will try to help them, but they need to demonstrate readiness to accept the offered help. They need to show that they are ready to raise their children differently, to send them to schools, to take care of their education, health and security, rather than sending them at the age of four or five to stand at traffic lights to beg and steal,” Sapic said on March 11.
“I told the truth, it is a taboo, and I stick to every word I uttered. It is their right to file a criminal complaint and let the court decide whether I have discriminated against someone,” Sapic said on March 14 commenting on the criminal complaint filed against him by the Roma Party.
In the criminal complaint, Sapic is accused of “making blatant insults at the members of the Roma people for to publicly expose them to mockery by propagating racial hatred and inciting racial discrimination, and among other things, igniting national intolerance among the peoples living in Serbia.”
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