Around 500 people participated in an anti-Roma demonstration organized in the north-Bohemian town of Duchcov on Wednesday evening in response to a violent attack on a couple by a group of Romanies in the town a few days prior. The demonstration drew a number of potentially-violent right-wing extremists: during an inspection of vehicles entering the town, the police confiscated 22 weapons including baseball bats, machetes and other items. One man was detained during the demonstration itself for disorderly conduct.
A few hundred people gathered in the north Bohemian town of Duchcov on Wednesday evening to protest against a rise in violence, specifically a recent beating of a local couple by a group of Romanies. Although most participants peacefully listened to the organizers and the town’s mayor Jitka Bártová, a couple of hundred people staged an unannounced march towards the neighborhood where most Roma reside, chanting racist slogans. The police prevented direct confrontation from taking place, and organizers as well as the authorities have appealed for
Around one-third of Czech 12- and 15-year-old children say they would never have a Roma friend, while 40 percent of them would take part in an anti-Roma rally in their town. These are some of the findings of a survey conducted among more than 1,400 elementary school pupils in the Czech Republic. The study also found a strong emphasis on conformity, says one of its authors Štepán Pudlák from Scio, a Prague-based educational think tank.
This year’s Prague Pride parade will not be able to follow its usual route, as opponents of the gay event March for the Family and the Young Christian Democrats have already won permission to hold their own gatherings on sections of the route leading through the centre of the Czech capital. Organisers say they are considering a number of alternative routes for the third Prague Pride, which is scheduled to take place on August 17.
Meanwhile, the abbot of Strahov Monastery in Prague, Michael Josef Pojezdný, has praised Mr. Zeman for refusing to appoint Mr. Putna, who is a practising Roman Catholic, professor. However, it is unclear why the abbot – who reportedly made the comments during a meeting with Mr. Zeman on another matter – has backed the president, as he has refused to speak to the media. This has led to speculation that it may be because of Mr. Putna’s liberal politics or the fact that he is openly homosexual. Academics have also been up in arms, with the rector of Prague’s Charles University, Václav Hampl, saying that Mr. Zeman would need to have very serious reasons for not naming Mr. Putna professor; otherwise the move would represent an unacceptable intervention.
A major EU-wide survey ranks the Czech Republic as a relatively tolerant country to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons. The poll, conducted by the EU’s Agency for Fundamental Rights among 93,000 people in the bloc’s member states plus Croatia, found that around 26 percent of gay people have faced attacks or violent threats due to their sexuality which is the same share as registered in the Czech Republic. Another 20 percent of those surveyed said they had been discriminated against at work or when looking for a job; in the Czech Republic, 10 percent of LGBT people said they faced such discrimination.
Twelve refugees from Chechnya were discovered by the Czech police travelling in a van near Rozvadov in western Bohemia. Members of the group, which included six children, had applied for asylum in Poland, and according to the Dublin Convention were meant to remain there until a decision was made about their applications. The Russian citizens told the Czech police that they were travelling to Germany. Since they have no legal status in other EU states besides the country of entry, the Czech authorities have asked their Polish colleagues to take the group into their custody.
The organisers of a martial arts show in Prague have bowed to pressure from the media and sponsors and cancelled an appearance by a Hungarian fighter who’s covered from head to toe in Nazi tattoos. Attila Petrovszki, a Mixed Martial Arts fighter from Hungary, had been due to appear at the event - his tattoos covered in a T-shirt - on Friday; now organisers are looking for a replacement.
The Czech Republic’s Jewish Community says expressions of anti-Semitism are growing in the country, mainly on the internet. In an annual report, the community attributed the increase to rising tensions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the pro-Israeli stance of the Czech government and the fact that Jan Fischer, who is Jewish, stood in presidential elections. However, the report said that anti-Semitism was not common in the Czech Republic and that the number of physical incidents had not increased on recent years. An official said a controversial government bill to return property to churches had also contributed to antipathy towards Jews.
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