Locals call for Roma removal

A few days after a fire destroyed a large part of a Roma settlement in Votanikos, residents of the western Athens district are calling for the expulsion of the community from the area.

It is estimated that about 400 Roma, often called Gypsies, from Albania live here in some 80 makeshift homes.

The fire on Tuesday started as members of the Roma community burnt cables to extract copper wire. Locals protest that the practice, carried out almost daily, pollutes the air with toxic fumes.

?The situation has been going on for years. During the winter the problem is not so big because we have our windows closed. In the summer, however, we really suffer,? Anastasia Aliferaki, a local, told Kathimerini. ?Hopefully the recent fire will prompt the state into action in order to solve a problem that is poisoning our lives,? she added.

Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias has vowed to deal with the issues caused by the burning of cables.