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.
A Vietnamese citizen named Le Kim Thanh, who briefly went on hunger strike in protest at a deportation order, is to be expelled from the country in the next few weeks, a spokesperson for the Czech police said on Wednesday. The man lost his right to remain in the Czech Republic when he lost his job and his case has received a good deal of attention. While the human rights minister, Michael Kocáb, said Le Kim Thanh should be allowed to stay in the country, the minister of the interior, Ivan Langer, said he had broken Czech law and had to go. His lawyer is appealing the expulsion order.
Vietnamese citizens have asked to be allowed to remain in the Czech
Republic if they lose their jobs. At a meeting with Interior Ministry
officials, leaders of the Vietnamese community said they were capable of
supporting one another in the event of being laid off, arguing that
possible deportation was too heavy-handed a measure on the part of the
Czech authorities. The Vietnamese leaders said their compatriots would
prefer to stay in the Czech Republic and do community service, for
The Czech government recently launched a scheme to give laid-off workers from non-EU states EUR 500 and a ticket home. So far around 550 people – most of them from Mongolia – have signed up for the programme, which is open to 2,000 foreigners in its first phase. Only 20 or 25 people from Vietnam have taken up the offer.
Many in the Czech medical profession were unpleasantly surprised by recent comments by the head of the Czech doctors’ association Milan Kubek. Speaking before a parliamentary committee on problems in health care, the head of the association, suggested that work done by female doctors was incomparable to that done by their male counterparts. His words have since led to growing criticism and calls for him to step down.
The Supreme Administrative Court on Wednesday rejected a petition by the Czech government to ban the far-right Workers’ Party. The court said the cabinet had not provided sufficient evidence that the small extremist group - which first made headlines last year when its supporters staged a march on a Romany ghetto - posed a real threat to democracy. The verdict was applauded by the party, but probably by few others. The Czech government will now have to bring more proof to support its position, or come up with different ways of dealing with right-wing
A court in the city of Plzeň, western Bohemia, lifted on Monday a ban on an extremist march, allowing radicals to “protest against Zionism”. The march, originally planned for February 21, had been banned by one of the city’s municipalities for fears it would incite racial hatred. City officials also said the person who applied for a permission to march was a well-know figure of the Czech neo-Nazi movement. The court revoked the decision to ban the march due to its “unreviewability”, saying it would publish precise reasons on Friday. A spokesperson for the court said the march can take place within 30 days of the verdict being delivered to the organizers.
The Czech Constitutional Court rejected on Monday a complaint by a Romany
woman who underwent forced sterilization in an Ostrava hospital in 1997.
Iveta Červeňáková, who was 21 at the time, complained about a decision
by the police to shelve a criminal case against two of the hospital’s
physicians. The Court said none of her constitutional rights were
by that decision.
Ms Červeňáková was sterilized in the Ostrava Municipal Hospital in 1997, after giving birth to her second child. A local court awarded her 500,000 crowns, or more than 22,000 US dollars, in damages, but a higher court said last year her claim was covered by the statute of limitations.
The city of Chomutov in North Bohemia is under fire over a controversial new method of reclaiming debts owed by low-income families – sending bailiffs to recover the money as soon as they receive it as social benefits. Most of the families are from the Romany or gypsy minority, and the method has ignited a new row over the integration of the Roma into Czech society.
The minister for human rights and minorities, Michael Kocáb, visited one
of the country’s largest Romany ghettos in Janov on Tuesday, describing
the situation as “dramatic”. Mr Kocáb said however he was pleased with
the lively debate between the local authorities, human rights groups and
Romany NGOs. The local mayor gave Mr Kocáb keys to an apartment in the
Janov housing estate so that the government could set up an office in the
Janov, part of the northern Bohemian town of Litvínov, is one of the Czech Republic’s largest Romany ghettos. In November last year, it became a target of far-right activists who intended to stage a march through the area; the attempt ended in a clash with riot police.
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