A court in Ustí nad Labem has overturned a city ban on a planned neo-Nazi march through the centre of town. The march has been scheduled for Saturday April 18th, two days ahead of the 120th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s birth, and is expected to be attended by several hundred extremists from the Czech Republic and neigbouring states. Police will be out in force for the event, with re-enforcements expected from other regions. Locals have been asked to avoid problem areas so as not to get caught up in potential street fights.
A new report on poverty and gender equality in the Czech Republic for 2008, put out by the international network Social Watch, has criticised the country for discriminating against women on the labour market. The report also highlights issues concerning the country’s Romany minority as well as the situation of the poor. The editor of the report, Tomáš Tožička, explains which of these groups is facing the biggest difficulties.
The police is gearing up for a planned neo-Nazi march in the town of Ustí nad Labem on April 18th, just two days ahead of the 120th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s birth. The head of the north Bohemian police force Jiří Vorálek said several hundred neo-Nazis were expected to attend predominantly from the Czech Republic and neighbouring Germany. Police reinforcements are being brought in from around the country and the city’s inhabitants have been asked to stay away from problem areas so as not to get caught up in potential street violence.
In 2007, the Czech Republic was condemned by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for the way its education system treated the country’s Romany minority. The court found that Roma children were frequently discriminated against and sent to schools for the disabled, when they did not show signs of learning difficulties. On International Roma Day this Wednesday, the Czech Education Ministry released the results of two studies it commissioned to determine how Roma children are faring in the country’s schools now. I spoke to Education Minister
In related news, a Romany NGO called Gypsy Radical has begun monitoring neo-Nazi activities aimed against the Czech Republic’s Romany minority. According to Monday’s press release, the association’s goals also include getting the Romany community to act non-violently against neo-Nazis. On their website, Gypsy Radical published a review of neo-Nazi events that took place in the northern town of Litvínov in the last four months; the activists said policing of these neo-Nazi activities cost Czech tax-payers more than 10 million crowns, or more than 500,000 US dollars.
Czech police broke up a neo-Nazi concert in the city of Plzeň, western Bohemia, in the early hours of Sunday after one of the performers played a song with racist lyrics. About 100 riot police intervened and stopped the performance by three foreign and one Czech band attended by some 150 far-right sympathizers. No one was wounded in the incident while seven persons were detained on suspicions of inciting racial and ethnic hatred.
The Czech daily Lidové Noviny released details on Monday which fill out the circumstances surrounding a Vietnamese man’s death after he was detained by Brno police. The new information released by the paper points to him being the victim of a savage attack after drawing on witness statements and the initial findings of the state prosecutor.
The Czech ultra right-wing Nationalist Party has held a demonstration to remember the start of the occupation of Bohemia and Moravia by German troops 70 years ago. On March 15th, 1939 Nazi leader Adolf Hitler proclaimed the country a protectorate. Around twenty members of the Nationalist Party gathered in Prague on Sunday, carrying placards and Czech flags. The event was monitored by police but ended without incident.
A march by around 200 ultra right-wing extremists who protested in the west Bohemian town of Plzeň on Saturday has ended without serious incident. Police did detain two men, one for a misdemeanour, the other on suspicion of promoting movements aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms. According to ČTK, the Czech news agency, the suspect sported an “88” tattoo – a coded reference to the Hitler salute. Neo-Nazis in the march carried posters against Zionism while shouting slogans against Israel. Between 200 to 300 people came out to show their opposition to the extremists. The demonstration was monitored by police, some on horseback, while a police helicopter surveyed the scene from overhead.
The Czech authorities recently launched a scheme to send home workers from non-EU states who lose their jobs. But members of the country’s sizable Vietnamese community say that measure is too heavy-handed. Vietnamese leaders told Interior Ministry officials this week they could support one another until the job situation improves again. However, the ministry has rejected these proposals. The head of the ministry’s asylum and migration department, Tomáš Haišman, explains why.
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