Anti-Romany rallies are to be held in five Czech regions on August 24, a police spokeswoman said. Far-right extremists said they wanted to protest against alleged high crime levels among the Romany community, and against police brutality. The police have not disclosed the exact locations but rallies are expected in České Budějovice, Jičín, Plzeň, and other cities. In Ostrava, local authorities have banned an anti-Romany rally; they said several Romany groups had already booked public space for the same time. A series of rallies targeting the Romany community has been held in places across the Czech Republic in recent months, prompting international criticism. Several organizations have asked the Czech authorities to protect the Romany community against violence and intimidation.
An outdoor exhibition of draft versions of a joint Czech-Roma flag has been vandalised. The series of works, which are on located a site called the Artwall on a Prague embankment, are by Slovak artist Tomáš Rafa and are intended to spur a discussion on co-existence between the majority population and the Roma minority. Earlier this week somebody threw paint at all seven of the proposed flag designs, which combine the Czech tricolour with an international Roma flag created in the early 1970s. The far-right Workers Party of Social Justice have filed a complaint against the project, which they say breaches the law on use of Czech state symbols.
The Czech Republic might have just begun its recovery from the longest economic recession on record. But the depressed economy has taken a severe toll on most Czechs, with the most vulnerable groups having been hit particularly hard. This is one of the findings of the 2012 report by the Czech branch of Social Watch, an NGO that monitors poverty and other social issues. Entitled Decline and Resignation, the report also says a recent rise in ethnic tensions seen across the Czech Republic is closely linked to the deteriorating social standards. In
The Czech capital is currently hosting Prague Pride 2013, a week-long series of gay pride events, including open-air performances, concerts, exhibitions and debates. Now in its third year, the LGBT festival has become the biggest of its kind in central and Eastern Europe, attracting thousands of visitors from at home and abroad. The theme of this year’s Prague Pride is “coming out” and one of the foreign guests who attended Tuesday’s debate on coming out in politics is U.S. Congressman David Cicilline. In a brief interview for Radio Prague he explained
The week-long Prague Pride festival, which supports the LGBT community and tolerance towards all sexual orientations, began on Monday in Prague. This is the third year that a Pride festival is held in Prague and this year will feature many musical performances, public discussions, art exhibits and other events. On Saturday, the traditional Pride parade will take place in the center of the city. Last year, around 15,000 people attended the parade and organizers are expecting even greater attendance this year.
The third Prague Pride has just got underway, with a week of events celebrating sexual minorities due to culminate in a huge parade through the city on Saturday. On the eve of the event, I spoke to its director Czeslaw Walek about a range of issues, including Prague Pride’s relations with the current and former Czech presidents. But as this year’s theme is coming out my first question was what Walek and other LGBT leaders can do to make that process easier for those who are still in the closet.
One time a few years back I went to record vox pops outside Prague’s Nový Smíchov shopping centre. However, a strikingly high percentage of the men and women in the street whose opinions I was attempting to elicit were not what I was looking for. They weren’t Czech but were from Ukraine or other states east of here.
This week in Business News: Consumer prices dropped in June, along with inflation rate; Study shows that many key sectors still have very few women in management; Construction and industrial output down in June; New tougher regulations on alcohol distribution go through lower house; Businesses would mostly welcome early elections in hopes of a more stable political and economic situation.
Human rights groups Amnesty International and the European Roma Rights Centre have asked the Czech authorities to protect the country’s Romany community from violence and intimidation. The call comes ahead of a series of anti-Romany rallies planned in 13 Czech towns by far right extremists in the coming weeks. The groups say the government must ensure that these protests do not lead to violence against Roma communities, and that those at risk get the protection they need. The Czech Republic has seen rising ethnic tensions between the majority population and the 300,000 or so strong Romany community. The Czech secret services recently warned mainstream anti-Romany sentiments could become a bigger threat than far right extremism.
In recent months, a series of violent rallies targeting Romany communities have been seen in the Czech Republic. Besides known far-right activists, the protestors have included large numbers of ordinary locals frustrated with what they see as the authorities’ inability to deal with high crime levels and other problems plaguing Romany-dominated districts. Now, the Czech intelligence service has warned that anti-Romany sentiments in mainstream society could become a more serious threat than far-right extremism. I discussed the report with sociologist
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