The organiser of a neo-Nazi march banned in Plžen has won a court case against the mayor of the west Bohemian city. The Plžen Regional Court ruled on Friday that reasons given by Mayor Pavel Rodl for stopping the demonstration did not meet the set criteria for such a ban. Far-right activist Václav Bureš is now free to organise another march within 30 days of receiving notice of the court decision. The one he called in January was timed to coincide with the anniversary of the first transport of Jews from in Plžen 1942.
The South Bohemia regional authority has rejected a European Parliament call for the removal of a pig farm on the site of a former World War II concentration camp for Romanies. Governor Jan Zahradník said removing the facility in Lety would be an inappropriate solution; he added that Brussels had no right to interfere, as it was a purely Czech matter. Mr Zahradník said the region plans to build a memorial near the pig farm to Romany victims of the Holocaust. More than 1,300 people were interned at Lety; over 300 died there, while 500 more later met their deaths at Auschwitz.
Police have filed charges against five Vietnamese stall holders after they allegedly attacked customs officers at a market in Vojtanov, west Bohemia on Thursday. One of the officers has been treated in hospital for stab wounds, though his life is not in danger. The incident occurred during a routine inspection of alcoholic drinks on sale at the market.
A report outlining Roma minority problems in the EU, adopted by the European Parliament on Thursday, highlights the case of a pig farm built on the site of a wartime concentration camp for Romanies near the community of Lety, central Bohemia. Members of the European Parliament are calling on the Czech authorities to abolish the farm, and create a memorial in honour of the camp’s victims.
In March of 2006 Czech homosexuals celebrated an important victory. After seven years of intensive lobbying the Czech Parliament finally passed a law on same-sex partnerships or so called gay-marriages, overriding president Klaus’s veto by a narrow majority. A year and a half later the number of registered partnerships between same-sex couples in the Czech Republic has reached nearly five hundred. Ruth Fraňková spoke to Slavomír Goga from the Gay and Lesbian League and started by asking whether the new law had made a significant difference to the
Marek Podlaha, formerly head of an NGO assisting Romany employment, is to become head of a government agency aimed at fighting the exclusion of Romanies from society and the creation of Roma ghettoes. The agency is to start work in February and will be answerable directly to Džamila Stehlíková, the minister in charge of human rights and ethnic minorities.
Close to 500 homosexual couples have entered into same-sex partnerships since a law enabling so-called gay marriages came into force in July of 2006. According to statistics 353 male couples and 134 lesbian couples entered into a same-sex partnership, 43 of them were foreign nationals who came here specifically to tie the knot. Up until 1961 homosexuality was considered a crime punishable by law. The law on gay marriage was rejected seven times by Parliament before finally winning approval.
2006 saw the launch of “Increasing Adaptability of Disabled Persons”, a new project in the Czech Republic aimed at helping the disabled to improve their position on the jobs market. Unemployment among the disabled remains a serious problem, far higher than among the rest of the population. The aim of the project was to stress re-education and empowerment: over fifteen organizations cooperated to create and test pilot programmes to help the disadvantaged “help themselves”.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has launched a new programme to make it easier for Ukrainians to find work legally in the Czech Republic. Under the programme, three job centres in Ukraine will be linked with five such centres around the Czech Republic. Staff in the Ukrainian centres will give free advice on finding work in the Czech Republic and help with filling-out forms and applications. The project has been coordinated so as to try and shut out the mafia – it is thought that many Ukrainians are found jobs in the Czech Republic by illegal agents to whom they then have to give a percentage of their earnings. After Slovaks, Ukrainians are the second biggest group of foreign workers in the Czech Republic. At the end of 2007, over 61,000 Ukrainians were registered as working in the country.
The organiser of a neo-Nazi march banned by the authorities in Plzeň was a member of the governing Civic Democrats, the news website iDnes.cz reported. A spokesperson for the party said Václav Bureš had been expelled in January, after it emerged that he was behind the march, which was timed to coincide with the anniversary of the first transport of Jews from the city in 1942. The far-right gathering was banned last Thursday, two days before it was due to take place. In the end around 200 neo-Nazis attended a demonstration in Prague, which passed off peacefully.
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