Romea.cz - Czech Republic: Municipal police tell DSSS extremists they won't let them destroy Břeclav →
Representatives of the town of Břeclav and the South Moravian Region have condemned the recent attack by three men on a 15-year-old boy there. They have also called on citizens not to join the upcoming ultra-right extremists’ actions there so that Břeclav does not become another Šluknov district. The victim has reportedly described one of the assailants as Romani.
Ultra-right extremists and neo-Nazis from the Workers’ Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) and its youth organization, Workers’ Youth (Dělnická mládež - DM) intend to exploit anti-Romani sentiment in the town.
“We will be deploying all of the patrol officers and technology we have onto the streets. There will also be state police officers here from the South Moravian Region. I would like to make it clear that we will not allow Břeclav to be destroyed, especially not by people from somewhere in North Bohemia. Once the event is over, they will have to get it together to leave town,” Břeclav Municipal Police Chief Stanislav Hrdlička said in a firm message intended for the neo-Nazis.
The ultra-right extremist Workers’ Youth (Dělnická mládež - DM) is convening a protest this Sunday in Břeclav to support a 15-year-old boy who was brutally beaten by three allegedly Romani men over the weekend there. The boy has been hospitalized and is in critical condition. Up to 1 000 people are expected to attend the event, which will culminate in a march through the center of town. Břeclav municipality spokesperson Eliška Windová informed the Czech Press Agency of the upcoming march today.
The march is announced as beginning at 9:00 AM CET and lasting until 20:00 on Sunday. It will start at the main train station in Břeclav. “The announcers met the legal requirements for the event to take place. For the time being there is no reason to ban it,” the town spokesperson said.
At least half of the European Romani population — commonly known in the English-speaking world as Gypsies — was murdered by the Nazis during WWII. Leaders of the community say that they share a similar fate to Jews.
An anti-Romani demonstration last Saturday on the outskirts of Belgrade resulted in injuries to 16 people, 13 of them police officers. The clashes were instigated by a group of approximately 100 hooligans. B92 radio and television reported today that police detained 20 of the rioters.
The violence took place in Resnik, where authorities have started building “container” housing for Romani people who have been displaced from settlements in the center of the capital. The protesters disagree with the construction of a housing estate for Romani tenants. Demonstrators threw stones at police and blocked roads to prevent access to the approximately 80 “container” apartments.
Yesterday, on the occasion of International Romani Day, the non-governmental organization Amnesty International (AI) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) criticized the housing and living situations of Romani people throughout Europe as well as the minority policies of various European countries. The Austrian Press Agency reports that AI has warned that only 38 % of Romani people in Europe are employed.
Both organizations are calling for steps to be taken to improve Romani people’s situations. According to Amnesty International, last year thousands of Romani people in Europe were afflicted by or at risk of forced eviction, and their socioeconomic situations are significantly worse than those of majority populations. Reportedly, only 38 % of Romani people in Europe perform paid work, while 31 % of Romani people have attended only six or fewer years of elementary school. Roughly 15 % of Romani people are illiterate. Every fifth Romani person has been the victim of racially motivated crime.
On 8 April, International Romani Day passed without any media interest in the Czech Republic. If Jan Fischer had not issued a statement of congratulations, it would not have been written about at all. The media are apparently concerned with much more important topics than ones which might assist social cohesion.
On Sunday, 8 April 2012, Romani people worldwide are celebrating International Romani Day. This day commemorates history’s first-ever World Roma Congress, convened near London in 1971, thanks primarily to the initiative of Grattan Puxon and Donald Kenrick of Great Britain; Matéo Maximoffa, a representative of the Romani people in France who call themselves the Manouche; Jarko Jovanović from the the former Yugoslavia; and other Romani people and scholars. The first congress was attended by roughly 30 people who adopted the Romani flag and international anthem. Delegates also officially established the first international Romani organization, the IRU (International Romani Union), which was known at first under the name of World Romani Union. The official term “Rom” instead of “Gypsy” was also approved at this meeting.
A Swiss magazine’s cover showing a Gypsy boy waving a toy gun has provoked anger among anti-racism campaigners who say it whips up prejudice against one of Europe’s poorest minorities, prompting the publication to defend itself Thursday.
Yesterday afternoon yet another anti-Romani demonstration took place in Varnsdorf, attended by approximately 100 people. The protesters do not want Romani tenants to live in the prefabricated apartment buildings on Kovářská and Pražská streets, alleging there is a risk that a new “ghetto” will form there.
In their letter to the Government, the protesters are demanding that the cabinet concern itself with their request to prevent the creation of a “ghetto”. However, the Government will find it difficult to do anything with those demands, because the apartments in which the Romani tenants are living and into which more Romani people are moving belong to a private owner. The protesters’ letter also includes demands for changes in welfare policy so that housing contributions for poor families cannot be paid directly to landlords.
Some ethnic Czechs gathered on the square clearly had even more radical demands. “The Czech state should do its best to make sure we remain the majority here. Welfare should be paid only to whites,” the local daily Děčínský deník quoted one protester as saying. A van from the so-called “Holešov Appeal” (Holešovská výzva) of the National Council/Real Democracy (Národní rada/Skutečné demokracie) groups seeking the resignation of the current cabinet was also present at the anti-Romani demonstration.
Romea.cz - Online petition to save Prague's World Romani Festival KHAMORO gaining signatures quickly →
An online petition in support of preserving the World Romani Festival KHAMORO gained almost 400 signatures immediately and is continuing to garner support. This year’s festival, the 14th annual, is scheduled to take place next month but is now at risk of collapse because of a radical reduction of the subsidy provided by the Czech Culture Ministry. The subsidy commission recommended (and the Czech Culture Minister approved) a subsidy of only CZK 600 000 (less than EUR 25 000). This is less than half of the amount the ministry provided the festival last year.