Joseph Carrano and John Moore, the two American citizens arrested in Prostějov, South Moravia, in the beginning of October for overstaying the 90-day visa-free period, are currently detained in a facility for illegal aliens and are facing deportation. They initially applied for asylum in the country to avoid it but have recently withdrawn their application. They are not seeking international protection, just the chance to stay with their family in the Czech Republic. They say they have been treated unfairly by the Czech authorities, and they don’t
Lenka Vochocová is twenty-eight, but looks more like eighteen. She may not look like it, but she has already managed to establish and successfully run an NGO called Inventura which helps people with learning disabilities. She has also organized a film festival screening animated films made by some of the people her NGO has helped. I met Lenka Vochocová at her office in Prague’s Smíchov district, to ask her more about her activities:
The regional governor for Southern Bohemia, Jan Zahradník, has responded to EU demands that a pig farm on the site of a wartime concentration camp for Romanies in the region be relocated. Mr Zahradník said the European Parliament’s calls to relocate the pig-farm ‘complicate ongoing negotiations’ and are ‘counterproductive’. A spokesperson for the regional governor added that the relocation of the pig-farm would cause job-losses and financial difficulties for farmers in the area. The region had previously agreed with the Czech government and Romanies living in the region to erect a memorial to the Romany Holocaust nearby the original site. But last week, the European Parliament reprimanded Czech authorities for not moving the pig-farm to another location and, on Monday, the Czech Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust followed suit.
The Czech Republic’s freedom of speech and assembly laws have been tested to the full in recent months by a small but determined group of neo-Nazis. For the second time this year, the city of Plzeň in West Bohemia is bracing itself for a march by far-right radicals, and politicians are wondering whether it might not be time to prune the country’s legislation to prevent such marches from going ahead.
The Czech Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust has called on the government to find a new location for a pig farm built on the site of a wartime concentration camp for Romanies in Lety, south Bohemia. Last week, the Czech authorities were reprimanded for the second time by the European Parliament over the controversial issue. Romany organizations have been calling for the farm's relocation for many years. The committee said on Monday it would like to see a dignified monument erected on the site in honour of the camp’s victims. According to historical documents over 300 people died in the camp and another 500 ended up in the Auschwitz extermination camp.
A neo-Nazi demonstration is scheduled to take place in Plzeň on March 1. Far-right activists were originally planning to march through Plzeň on January 19, the anniversary of the first transport of Jews from the city in 1942. The town’s authorities had originally allowed the march to take place, but in the face of strong media pressure, they cancelled the event, only two days before it was due to take place. The radicals plan to march past the Great Synagogue in Plzeň, as it was planned before.
Czech Romany children living in ghettos are usually much less successful at school than other children, according to a recent study commissioned by the Foundation for Development of Civic Society (NROS). The survey conducted among 500 children in schools in the close vicinity of Roma ghettoes shows that one third of Romany children end up in special classes, compared to one in ten children in other areas. Social exclusion is said to be one of the major factors affecting children’s performance at school.
A Prague police officer charged with the stabbing to death of an American man in the city on Tuesday night was not taken into custody. A Prague court has rejected the proposal made by the state attorney’s office. The 27-year-old officer, who was drunk and off-duty when the incident happened, reportedly attacked the 44-year-old American after a fight broke out over they way the victim had parked his car. The incident took place near the Sazka Arena in Prague 9.
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.
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