Canadian skinheads take aim at Gypsy immigrants
August 27, 1997
Web posted at: 10:26 p.m. EDT (0226 GMT)
TORONTO (CNN) -- Carrying Canadian flags and holding signs
reading "Honk if you hate Gypsies," anti-immigrant skinheads
took to the streets of Toronto Wednesday demanding that
Gypsies who have come to Canada from the Czech Republic be
The backlash comes as Canadian immigration officials say
there has been a steady increase in Gypsies seeking asylum.
The exodus became more pronounced last month after Czech
television aired a documentary depicting Canada as a haven
for Gypsies and wrongly suggesting that they would be given
immediate housing and financial help in Canada.
Gypsies in the Czech Republic claim they are victimized there
by police and skinhead groups. They also say they are
discriminated against in employment and even banned from
entering some shops and restaurants.
About 150 Gypsy families have arrived in Canada in the past
two weeks, and local shelter operators say Gypsies now make
up about 20 percent of the 2,000 families housed in
Toronto-area hostels. The immigrants are beginning to put a
strain on the city's shelters.
Immigration officials have begun to perform extensive
background checks on all new arrivals in an attempt to stem