The subject of far-right extremism was also covered in the report. Its authors found that neo-Nazis in the Czech Republic were organised in small groups at regional level and did not have one strong leader. Far-right concerts and other public events decreased in number in 2006, with skinheads preferring to meet at private parties. Meanwhile, the sale of neo-Nazi paraphernalia had moved from gatherings to the internet.
This month, the first lesbian publishing house opened in the Czech Republic. LePress has a portfolio of two titles so far, both translations from American originals. The aim of the publishers is to introduce Czech lesbians to the sort of lesbian fiction that is being written overseas. The woman behind the project is Marketa Navratilova. She told Radio Prague where the idea came from:
The first lesbian publishing house in the Czech Republic has just been opened. The first books to be printed by the publishers, LePress, are two romantic novels by American authors Karen Williams and Karen Kallmaker. The aim of the publishing house, according to owner Marketa Navratilova, is to bring foreign lesbian fiction to Czech readers. At the moment, the books are only available over the internet. According to Mrs Navratilova, the initial reaction to the publishers within the Czech lesbian community has been positive.
Several hundred Czech families invited foreigners living in the country to Sunday lunch within a multi-cultural project aimed at overcoming xenophobia. The “Get to know your neighbours” project was launched in 2004 and since then some five hundred families have become involved. More than half of them maintain regular contacts. The idea is to break down existing barriers between Czechs and foreigners living in the country some of whom have difficulties making contacts outside their own communities. There are close to 400,000 foreigners living in the country at present.
November 17th is the anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution and is a public holiday here in the Czech Republic. Hundreds are expected to take to the streets of Prague on Saturday, to mark the 18th anniversary of the beginning of one of the most important chapters in the country’s history. But others will be turning out in numbers for rather different reasons. Here is a round up of the activities we can expect around the capital on Saturday:
In a landmark verdict, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the Czech Republic violated the rights of Roma children by placing them in so-called special schools for children with learning difficulties. The state has been ordered to pay the 18 families who took the case 4,000 euros each in compensation. Meanwhile, Roma rights campaigners are calling on the Czech Republic to adopt positive measures to address the segregation that still exists, despite changes to the law.
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has ruled that the Czech Republic discriminated against 18 Romany children by forcing them to attend special schools. The state will have to pay each of them 108, 000 crowns (4,000 euros) in compensation. The verdict overturns an earlier ruling according to which the Roma families had no cause for complaint since these special schools were also attended by non-Roma children with learning difficulties. The Roma families who waged a 9-year long court battle over their children’s rights said they had almost given up hope of a verdict in their favour. The ruling is likely to set an important precedent.
The failure of neo-Nazis to march through Prague’s Jewish quarter – and the subsequent skirmishes between skinheads and anarchist demonstrators – have certainly dominated the headlines in recent days. Images of battered and bloodied skinheads being taken away by police were flashed around the world’s media, who described Saturday as a fiasco for the far right. But could next weekend turn into a second instalment?
Six people have been charged following a clash between skinheads and anarchists in Prague city centre on Saturday evening. The clash happened at an illegal demonstration staged by right-wing extremists near Prague’s Jewish Quarter on the anniversary of Kristallnacht – a Nazi pogrom carried out in 1938. On Monday, Czech police revealed that five anarchists and one skinhead would face charges following Saturday’s unrest. According to police, amongst those charged is Petr Kalinovsky, a neo-Nazi who fired an air-pistol into the crowd. The anarchists in question have been charged with assaulting police-officers. One policeman was seriously injured at Saturday’s demonstration, and two further policemen suffered minor injuries. Almost 400 people were detained during Saturday’s unrest.
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