The Czech Republic’s Romany community is outraged by the recent arson attack on one of its members which left a two-year-old girl fighting for her life and rendered eight people homeless overnight. Several Romany organizations have called on the authorities to stand up to growing extremism in the country, and are planning a nationwide protest to step up public opposition to the neo-Nazi movement.
The two-year-old girl who was injured in an arson attack on her home in Vítkov, north Moravia over the weekend, remains in critical condition. She suffered second and third degree burns on eighty percent of her body and doctors say her chances of survival are slim. Money and offers of help have been pouring in both from the Czech Republic and abroad. The Romany family whose house was burnt to the ground in the attack have been given temporary shelter. The police have asked the public to come forward and give evidence in the case. They have not yet officially confirmed a racial motif, but it is considered highly probable. The family’s house was set on fire by a group of men who threw petrol bombs in through the windows in the middle of the night. There have been torchings of other Romany houses in north Moravia in the past few years. No culprit was ever found.
Iran has rebuked the Czech EU presidency for what it described as growing human rights violations in EU member states and insufficient action to combat racism. The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday summoned the Czech Republic’s chief envoy to Iran to inform him of a series of alleged EU “crimes” including the murder of human rights activists, the murder of foreigners by the police and the discrimination of Muslim minorities. The move came just a day after representatives of 23 EU member states walked out of the UN’s World Conference Against Racism in protest of an anti-Israel speech by the Iranian president. The Czech Republic and several other EU countries have refused to return to the conference which runs until April 24.
A planned speech by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke at Prague’s Charles University has been cancelled by university authorities, Czech media reported on Tuesday. The university engagement was one of three planned speaking engagement by the former leader of the US racist movement in Prague and Brno on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Outgoing Czech minister for human rights and minorities Michael Kocáb described the speaking tour at the invitation of local neo nazis as alarming. The visit comes at a time of heightened tension following a petrol-bomb attack on a Roma family in the north-east of the country on Saturday night which has left a toddler with 80 percent burns fighting for her life in hospital.
In light of this weekend’s march in Ústí nad Labem, and Saturday's violent attack on a Roma family in Vítkov, the government has pledged to do more to stamp out extremism in the Czech Republic. On Monday, outgoing Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek said that the government would employ two key strategies in the fight against extremism: prevention and repression. Earlier today, I spoke to lawyer and expert on extremism Klára Kalibová to ask her whether she thought this would work. Firstly, I asked whether Czech courts should play a more active role
Saturday’s vicious attack on a Romany family in Vitkov, north Moravia, remains at the centre of public and media attention. Although a racial motif has not been officially confirmed, Romanies in the region say they fear for their lives and many have criticized the government for allegedly doing next to nothing to protect the country’s minorities from growing extremism
A two-year-old girl is in a critical condition in hospital after a petrol bomb was apparently thrown through the window of her family home in Vítkov, north Moravia. The girl is from the Romany or gypsy minority, and police belief the alleged arson attack could have been racially-motivated. So far politicians have been united in their condemnation, and the cabinet is due to discuss racist violence at its meeting on Monday.
Outgoing Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek has expressed deep concern over growing extremism in the country, saying that steps to deal with the problem will be discussed by the government on Monday. The prime minister was reacting to events in the Czech Republic at the weekend, from extremist demonstrations in Ústí nad Labem and Krupka, to a vicious attack against a Romany family on Saturday. The prime minister said he believed there was a connection between the political engagement of radicals and violence against individuals, making clear the problem will need to be dealt with head on.
Romany organisations and activists have expressed deep concern over the attack against the Romany family in the Opava region. On Sunday one organisation warned Romanies to be vigilant against “terrorist attacks by Czechs”, a statement backed by a number of Roma groups throughout the country. The various movements also agreed that the Roma community could not rely on what they described as a “failing state apparatus”, saying that arson attacks on the Roma in the Czech Republic were "not isolated". Some monitoring the situation have described conditions as becoming intolerable. On Sunday, the attack was condemned by both the Czech president and the Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek. The latter made clear the outgoing government’s priority will be to begin tackling the problem of growing extremism when it meets on Monday.
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