In a breakthrough ruling on Wednesday, the Czech Supreme Administrative
Court banned the far-right Workers Party. The court ruled that the
Workers’ Party spreads xenophobic and chauvinist views and had racist
undertones in its materials. The party’s programme also exploited
homophobia and fears of foreigners and immigrants, the court said. While
Czech politicians have welcomed Wednesday’s ruling, Worker’s Party
Tomáš Vandas said the group would appeal the ruling and run in May’s
Wednesday’s ruling is the result of a second attempt by the government to ban the party, which it maintains is a dangerous offshoot of the neo-Nazi movement. An initial attempt at the start of 2009 was dismissed by the court for lack of evidence.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Administrative Court in Brno delivered the first-ever verdict outlawing a political party in the Czech Republic. It ruled in favour of the government’s proposal to ban the far-right Workers Party on the grounds that it spreads xenophobia and racial hatred. Sarah Borufka has the details.
The Czech police temporarily reinstated border controls on the frontier
with Germany on Saturday in relation to a planned neo-Nazi march in
Dresden. The police checked vehicles at ten Czech-German border crossings
as well as passengers on Germany-bound international trains. Several dozen
police and customs officers took part in the operation, a police
Meanwhile, thousands of anti neo-Nazi protesters, including the Czech minister for human rights and minorities, Michael Kocáb, prevented the extremists from marching through the city of Dresden on Saturday. Around 4,000 right-wing extremists gathered in the city to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Allied bombing of Dresden during which an estimated 25,000 people died, most of them civilians.
The Czech police plan to establish new riot units in two of the country’s regional centres, Ústí nad Labem and Ostrava. They should help combat the growing threat of extremism which has seen a sharp rise over the last two years. At the same time, police units across the country face serious understaffing due to budget cuts.
The Czech Police have announced new and additional measures to combat extremism in the country. The head of the riot police, Petr Sehnoutka, told reporters Tuesday that units would be receiving additional training, public order squads would be used more frequently, and new, heavy-armour units will be added in the Ústecký and Moravskoslezský regions. The police said that the further specialisation of the units was in reaction to the greater specialisation of extremist groups themselves, which Sehnoutka said are becoming more aggressive, better organised and embracing new methods. The two regions in which the new units are to be placed were chosen due to their being what the police called major bases for extremists. Currently only Prague and Brno riot police have such heavy-armour squads.
There are now between 2,000 and 3,000 Vietnamese-run večerky (corner stores) in the Czech Republic, a senior member of a Czech Vietnamese business association, Nguyen Nam, said at a Prague conference on the retail industry on Wednesday. He said, however, that while the grocery business was growing, Vietnamese traders reported stagnation in textiles sales. Mr Nam said one sign of the growing importance of Vietnamese retailers was that the large Czech wholesaler Makro was now advertising in their language.
Brno restaurant owner Richard Hošek has launched a new initiative aimed at feeding homeless people in the Moravian capital. From Wednesday, he will collect leftover lunches from restaurants around Brno and deliver them to the city’s homeless community, which numbers around 1500. The entrepreneur was inspired by a similar project in Germany. The leftover meals will be brought to a central location where Brno’s homeless can pick them up.
The Czech government has hit back at a European survey which described Czech Roma or gypsies as the most discriminated against in the European Union. Minister for Human Rights and Minorities, Michael Kocáb, said on Monday that the Czech Republic had many Roma intellectuals who knew how to identify discrimination and spread news about it. A study for the European Union Agency For Fundamental Rights said 64 percent of Czech Roma were subject to discrimination during the preceding year and 42 percent subject to criminal attacks. The head of the government’s office for Roma affairs suggested that the situation was worse in Slovakia and Romania where the segregation of the Roma community was more marked.
Major Mike Stannett is the national leader of the Salvation Army, or Armáda spásy, in the Czech Republic. He and his wife Ruth first came to the country in 1991 and, apart from a brief stint in Moscow, have been here ever since. Right now the Salvation Army is particularly busy, working to help the homeless through a freezing snap, and at its headquarters in Prague 13 Mike Stannett discussed just how the organisation has been coping with the situation. But I first asked him what had led him and his wife to move here in the early ‘90s.
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