Roma community under attack in Rokycany

19-07-2000

Through the month of July, the Roma community in the West Bohemian town of Rokycany has been subject to intimidation and attack. The local police have arrested and charged three 17-year-old boys, but they say they're dealing with a dangerous attempt to scare the local Roma community, which includes several prominent Roma activists. Dita Asiedu has the details:

The perpetrators appear determined to provoke the Roma people of the town and destroy the seat of the Roma organisation in Rokycany. So far there have been three incidents, an unusually high number for the town, which has lately enjoyed close co-operation between the town authorities and a local Roma organisation, the Vision of the Roma of Rokycany.

The first attack this month took place on the 5th, when three men verbally abused a group of six Roma and hit and injured two. The second incident occurred on the 14th, beginning with three anonymous calls to Roma activist Ondrej Gina calling him names such as "black pig", followed by an attempt to scare the family by throwing a petrol bomb through the window of their house. The third incident also began with a phone call to the Gina family, this time an anonymous bomb scare, after which the police were called in and searched the family house. They found nothing, and moved on to the office of the local Roma organisation, where they found broken windows and petrol spilt on the office floor.

Jana Tomkova is the spokeswoman for Rokycany police and informed Radio Prague that her colleagues were taking the attacks extremely seriously, providing police protection and following up all leads.

The police say they're dealing with a series of attacks attempting to make life in the Rokycany area unbearable for the Roma community. They've already charged three boys for the attack on the Gina family house. The police are often reluctant to label all incidents as racially motivated. This one clearly was.

19-07-2000