Only minor damage

After a commotion: Roma disappear again overnight

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10.07.2024 13:33

As quickly as they had arrived, they were gone again: the Roma group that had taken over a model airfield south of Graz left in the night to Wednesday. Nevertheless, the provincial government now wants to examine stricter rules for such cases.

Tempers flared on Tuesday morning when representatives from politics and the media wanted to get a picture of the Roma caravan camp. They had set up camp on the grounds of a model flying club in Dobl-Zwaring on Monday - without the consent of the owner and the club.

"Fence is slightly damaged"
It was then agreed that they would move on again on Friday. But things must have gotten too hot for the hikers: They moved on during the night on Wednesday. However, representatives of the Roma and Sinti are still camping in the neighboring community of Lieboch. "Fortunately, there is no damage to the clubhouse. The fence is slightly damaged, a few garbage bags were left behind," a spokesperson for the club breathes a sigh of relief.

The Roma have left Dobl-Zwaring again, leaving behind a damaged fence. (Bild: zVg)
The Roma have left Dobl-Zwaring again, leaving behind a damaged fence.
The model flying club's meadow was suddenly full of caravans. (Bild: zVg.)
The model flying club's meadow was suddenly full of caravans.

Municipalities need action
But questions remain. "As a municipality, we have no control," complained Mayor Waltraud Walch. Her colleague Stefan Helmreich from the neighboring municipality of Lieboch also reported similar incidents and the same powerlessness. After all, the only way to take action against the migratory people is under civil law with an action for disturbance of property. However, it takes far too long for a legal decision to be made.

So do we need stricter rules that can be applied more quickly? There is broad political agreement on this. The FPÖ points to Lower Austria, where the Freedom Party forms a coalition with the ÖVP: Last fall, they created the possibility of banning camping outside of explicitly designated areas. This would allow municipalities to take action against wild camping, especially from caravan convoys. 

Styria looks to Lower Austria
The Styrian state government now also wants to react: It is already illegal and actionable for private land to be seized. However, "quicker and better enforcement is needed in the case of such gross violations, without criminalizing camping that is accepted by property owners", state governor Christopher Drexler (ÖVP) and deputy governor Anton Lang (SPÖ) state. 

A clear and practicable approach by the municipalities against such conditions is therefore desired. An audit has been commissioned. "Existing standards in other federal states and the experience gained with them are certainly an important point of reference", the Lower Austrian model will be examined.

This article has been automatically translated,
read the original article here.

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