Romanian authorities said Friday they will investigate protests and the alleged intimidation of two Sri Lankan bakers who were hired to work in a small town in central Romania, causing an uproar among some residents.
Hundreds of residents staged a protest in the town of Ditrau against the Sri Lankans on Wednesday demanding local authorities put an end to migration and call a referendum to stop “the flow of migrants.”
Some 2,500 residents set up a Facebook page called „No migrants in Ditrau”( „Migráns mentes ditrot akarunk”) where some posted inflammatory messages about the two men and the owner of the bakery, Hungarian-language site Maszol.ro reported.
Some residents of the town where most people are ethnic Hungarians said they were fearful more foreign workers would relocate to their town of 5,500 for work.
Ombudsman Renate Weber called the case “sad and revolting,” in an interview Friday with told French public radio, RFI.
“Where does this extremely aggressive desire come from to reject people from another country who have come to work here just as (Romanians) work abroad,” she said.
The role of Romania’s ombudsman is to defend alleged violations of human rights particularly defend citizens’ and human rights, as well as discrimination and equality issues.
Romanian politicians in the region also condemned the anti-migration protests on Thursday.
Later, the dominant party in the region, the Union of Democratic Hungarians in Romania, a group that represents the interests of Romania’s 1.2 million ethnic Hungarians also took a stand and appealed for calm.
“Disinformation and incitement to hatred against people who have a different colored skin and speak another language must be urgently stopped,” party spokeswoman Csilla Hegedus told Mediafax news agency.
.Some 84% of the population of the county of Harghita where Ditrau is located are ethnic Hungarians.
The company that owns the bakery has 90 employees, of which 18 are local residents. It hired the two Sri Lankans, aged 22 and 49, as it was unable to find employees locally. The company says it plans to recruit 4 more workers from Nepal and another Sri Lankan.
Ditrau Mayor Elemer Puskas called for calm and said problems arose because local residents “read the media and see that the migrants are coming and what they are doing.” He appealed to locals working abroad to move back to the community.