In Szomolya, Joseph was riding his bike, properly equipped with a bike light when he bumped into the police. He went into a store, and while he was gone, someone stole his bike light. Immediately after this, the police identity checked him and fined him 25 thousand forints, because he was missing a bike light. He tried to tell them that they had already seen him with the light, but it was all in vain. Another time he was fined 10 thousand because one of his wheels was missing 2-3 spokes and his wheel was uneven. They tested to see if his bike light was working, shining it towards the sun, and the cops decided that it wasn’t working. All this added up to almost 100 thousand forints in fines. Joseph and his partner live off of 23 thousand forints (about 120 dollars), so it was impossible for him to pay the fine in one piece. He tried to arrange paying it off in chunks of 3-4 thousand but the local court wouldn’t have it, and instead they sentenced him to jail. Joseph spent a whole month in jail.
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Most people hardly hear or know anything about the living conditions and everyday concerns of the Roma population living in extreme poverty, often in segregated settlements.
During their visits in North-Eastern Hungary, our colleagues interview locals about the issues they are currently most concerned with. The aim of our new series entitled “Make Your Voice Seen” is to deliver the messages of these people to a broader public.