The number of Russians residing and working in the Czech Republic has been steadily growing in recent years. Many come here in search of a better life, to escape the authoritarian regime of Vladimir Putin or homophobia in their homeland. And many find that the Russian led-invasion of Czechoslovakia casts a long shadow.
Queer film festival Mezipatra returns in November, but already this week, the organization is hosting "Identity in the City," an English-language film series running parallel to Prague Pride. We spoke with Mezipatra director Pavel Bicek to learn about the weeklong event, and why his organization has endured in the Czech Republic for nearly two decades.
The 8th annual festival of LGBT culture Prague Pride kicks off in the Czech
capital on Monday with a concert on Střelecký Island.
The week-long festival offers over a hundred events, including debates, film screenings and exhibitions, and will culminate with a colourful parade through the city centre on Saturday.
The main theme of the festival this year is the family and the main focus is on a bill, due to be debated in Parliament in the autumn, that would allow gays and lesbians to enter into regular marriages, which would give them the same rights as heterosexuals. At present they can only enter into so-called registered partnerships.
A march in support of the “traditional family” model took place in
Prague on Saturday, organized in protest against the Prague Pride festival
of the LGBT community due to be held next week.
Its participants, among them politician and church dignitaries, protested against the idea of the state recognizing a family other than the traditional man and woman model.
Prague Pride is also focused on the role of the family this year, drumming up support for a bill which would give gays and lesbians the right to enter into a marriage which would put them on an equal footing with heterosexual couple, including the right to adopt children.
The bill is to be debated in the lower house in the autumn.
The police is investigating the circumstances of the drowning of two
Vietnamese seven-year-old boys at Lake Lhota near Prague on Friday.
The mothers of the two boys have complained that when they reported the children missing the employees of the bathing resort had not taken them seriously and a search had only been launched several hours later.
The lifeguard was reportedly not at his post because of the heat.
The Czech-Vietnamese Society has called for the incident to be thoroughly investigated.
Eyewitness reports appear to confirm the parent’s claims.
To promote neo-Nazi ideology is a crime in the Czech Republic. Giving the Seig Heil salute and denying the Holocaust is also forbidden, as is hate speech in general. But to profit from the sale of products featuring the words or images of Adolf Hitler and the like is permitted – if it cannot be proven the seller was looking to propagate hateful ideology.
A Prague district court has found Jaroslav Staník, a former member of the
opposition Freedom and Direct Democracy Party (SPD), guilty of hate speech
over statements he made in Parliament about Jews, Roma and gays, Czech
Television reported on Tuesday.
The court issued the respective penal order on Monday, but its spokeswoman Pavla Hájková could not reveal details of the verdict since not all participants in the case had received it in writing.
The court may impose a suspended sentence of up to one year, home confinement, or a fine.
According to eyewitnesses, Stanik said on the premises of the lower house last October that the Roma, Jews and homosexuals should be shot dead at birth.
The government in January agreed to double the number of Ukrainians it would allow in as fast-track migrant workers to nearly 20,000 per year, in a bid to help address the chronic labour shortage, which has companies in the export-driven economy struggling to fill orders. According to Czech Chamber of Commerce, the fast-track scheme is a drop in the proverbial bucket – but still paying dividends.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced last week that the Czech consulate in Hanoi has stopped accepting applications from Vietnamese nationals for both long-term resident permits and visas, citing incapacity to handle the backlog of requests – but most of all, security risks, in the form of “exported” organised crime.
Jaroslav Staník, a former secretary of the extreme-right opposition
Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) movement, will be tried in court over
statements he made about Jews, Roma and homosexuals.
Staník has been charged with fomenting hatred towards a group of people, infringing upon their rights and freedoms, and denying the Holocaust while calling for genocide. If found guilty, he faces up to three years in prison.
According to eyewitnesses, including fellow MPs, Staník said last October that homosexuals, Roma and Jews should be shot at birth, and called for members of those minority groups to be gassed. He had allegedly been drinking heavily when he made the comments in the restaurant of the lower house of parliament.