It’s not a new technique, but it’s still a winner: an encampment of Roma gypsies has been driven out of a small Belgian town after the mayor hired a DJ to blast them with rock music at 95 decibels, equivalent to a pneumatic drill from 50ft away.
The same technique was famously used by United States soldiers in Panama in 1989 to force the fugitive dictator Manuel Noriega out of the diplomatic sanctuary of the Vatican’s embassy in Panama City. After ten days of rock music at deafening levels, Noreiga came out with his hands up.
The Roma have not shown the same endurance. They agreed to shift their 30 caravans from Landen, in Flemish province of Brabant, east of Brussels, yesterday at noon, just three hours after the DJ started blasting Dire Straits “Sultans of Swing” at them.
The Daily Mail reports the gypsies had initially agreed with a landowner to park 14 caravans at the site until Tuesday, according to Landen’s socialist mayor Gino Debroux
But after arriving on Sunday, 16 more caravans arrived. “Since then, they’ve said they won’t leave and they’re there with 30 caravans,” Debroux said. “This is an industrial site and is not designed for camping.”
Their refusal to leave had prompted the mayor to hire the DJ: “This is a way of putting pressure on them. It was very difficult to negotiate with the gypsy king, as he called himself. It’s a non-violent method to ask them to come to an agreement.”
After an agreement with police, the gypsies are expected to depart the site at some time today.