Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on Saturday commemorated Romany victims of the Holocaust at the site of the former concentration camp in Lety, in southern Bohemia. Mr Sobotka said his government would not release funds necessary to remove a pig farm, established at the site in the 1970s, and suggested the money be instead used for the education of Romany children. Some 1,300 Czech Romanies passed through the camp between 1940 and 1943; round 330 of them died there, while another 500 were deported to the Auschwitz extermination camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.
Some 8,000 people marched through the centre of the Czech capital on Saturday in support of marihuana legalization, part of the international Million Marihuana March event. Organizers said the number of participants was higher than last year; two people were arrested over for possesing small amounts of dry cannabis, a police spokesman said. Under Czech law, possession or growing of marihuana for personal use is a minor offence; earlier this year, however, the anti-drug unit of the Czech police raided a number of shops offering marihuana seeds and equipment for growing the illicit drug, raising concerns of a more stricter approach towards recreational marihuana growers and users.
The leader of the Dawn party’s ballot for the European elections, Klára Samková, has been given until Monday to step down over allegations of fraud. Ms Samková, who is an attorney, faces accusations that last year, she acted as a front for a company that wanted to buy its own debt from a bank, an illegal transaction under Czech law. Dawn party leader Tomio Okamura told reporters on Saturday that if Ms Samková does not quit by Monday, she would be removed from the ballot. Klára Samková, meanwhile, has denied any wrongdoing. In a statement, she said the accusations were deliberately meant to hurt her chances in the elections.
Prague Mayor Tomáš Hudeček, several local mayors and members of the public honoured Czech victims of Communism in Prague on Saturday, the news agency ČTK reported. Mr Hudeček warned against questioning the crimes of Communism, and said the motivation of those who sided with the regime needed to be studied. Some 250 people were executed by the Communist authorities and another 8,000 died in jail. An estimated 250,000 people left the country during the four decades of Communist rule. The gathering took place at a cemetery in Prague’s Motol district where the ashes of dozens of anti-Communist activists were secretly buried in the 1950s and 60s.
The Czech Interior Ministry has found that the police broke no laws when they raided two Islamic centres in Prague two weeks ago, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said after a meeting the police president. The organized crime unit of the Czech police raided a mosque and an Islamic community centre in the capital, quoting the distribution of a racist book as the reason. The operation came under criticism by Muslim community leaders as well as some foreign diplomats and public figures. On Friday, Minister Chovanec said he had asked police bosses to consider all possible aspects and risks of any such operation in the future.
The Czech national hockey team defeated Slovakia 3:2 in their opening game at the world championships in Minsk, Belarus, on Friday night. The Czechs went ahead early but the in the second period saw the Slovaks dominate the game, scoring two goals. However, Jaromír Jágr equalized late in the third period, forcing an overtime. Some two minutes into overtime, Jakub Klepiš found the net, securing the Czech team’s win. The Czechs are next playing Sweden on Sunday at the world championships in Minsk.