At the weekend, two Molotov cocktails (containing a liquid that is yet to be identified by the police) were thrown into the doorway of a block of flats inhabited by Romany families in the north Moravian town of Opava. The incident, which is being investigated as a threat to public safety, comes just a few weeks after a similar attack on a Romany family in Ostrava. Sarah Borufka reports.
Prague’s Libuš district is home to a sprawling Vietnamese market called Sapa and is one of the main centres of the Vietnamese community in the Czech Republic. The local town hall has recently complained of growing tension between the Czech and Vietnamese communities in the area, where they say the latter is forming a ghetto. Although the police have noted no significant increase in crime, the district mayor has warned of problems on the horizon.
There is reported to be growing tension between the inhabitants of Prague’s Libuše district and the Vietnamese minority which is centred around the SAPA market place known as Little Hanoi. The economic crisis has left many Vietnamese unemployed and hundreds of them reportedly hang out at the SAPA market place which the locals claim has turned into a ghetto. People living in the market’s immediate vicinity say that they have problems with Vietnamese drug addicts who shoot up in public. According to the CTK news agency the locals are considering setting up community patrols in the area.
There’s been an unexpectedly negative reaction to a proposal by the Education Ministry to offer voluntary classes in Romani – the language of the country’s 300,000 Roma or gypsies – in Czech schools. A Facebook campaign against the proposal has already attracted over 85,000 supporters, although the authorities appear undeterred.
The Green Party has recently brought forward a proposal to change legislation so that gay and lesbian individuals in the Czech Republic who live in a registered partnership would be able to adopt children. The proposal is based on an analysis by the Committee for Sexual Minorities. Within Europe, individual adoption for gays and lesbians in registered partnerships is legal in a number of countries, including Germany, Norway and the UK.
The town hall in the town of Kladno, west of Prague, has prohibited a public campaign rally of the Workers’ Party of Social Justice (DSSS), which is linked to the recently banned Workers’ Party. According to the town hall, an earlier request had been received from another party to hold a rally at the same place and time. Despite that, Kladno is the fourth municipality in recent days to prevent the party from rallying. Two other towns gave similar reasons as Kladno, while the town of Tábor banned a rally on the grounds that the DSSS is the successor of the extreme right-wing Workers’ Party; the DSSS filed a judicial complaint in that case, and the decision was overturned. On February 17, the Workers’ Party became the first Czech political party to be banned on the grounds of disruption of democratic values for inciting racism, xenophobia and promoting National Socialism.
Meanwhile, experts are holding a two-day international conference on alternatives to right-wing extremism in Prague this weekend. The aim of the conference is to get social and environmental movements from Central Europe involved in looking for “Alternatives to right-wing extremism during social and environmental crisis”, as the conference is called. The first day involved a debate on the necessity of international cooperation among anti-fascist movements and their support across the borders of East European countries. The conference will also focus on preparations for the European Social Forum, which will be held in Istanbul on July 1-4.
The Czech Roman Catholic Church recently joined an on-going debate about sexual abuse of minors by priests. Several church officials, including both the outgoing and the newly appointed archbishops of Prague offered their views on the scandal, and on what the church should do to prevent such cases in the future. Although only a few cases of sex abuse have been disclosed in the Czech Republic, the debate now centres on how to tighten the rules of accepting candidates for priests.
The regional court in the South Bohemian town of České Budějovice has overturned a decision by the town hall in Tábor to ban a pre-election meeting of right-wing extremists planned in the town in April. Supporters of the far right Workers’ Party for Social Justice (a group building on the earlier Workers’ Party which was been permanently banned in the Czech Republic) are aiming to gather for a so-called pre-election meeting on April 17; between 100 to 300 supporters are expected. The regional court made clear on Friday that if the town hall wanted to apply a ban it needed evidence for its decision.
Traveling has just become a lot more convenient for Czech gays and lesbians. A new holiday brochure provides an alternative to lengthy internet research to find a place to stay that is gay-friendly. The “Pink Go!” brochure boasts gay-friendly hotels, cruises catering to homosexuals and even gay-only accommodation. Sarah Borufka has the story.
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