More than 1,000 police officers are set to monitor 35 events planned for Prague on Thursday, a state holiday in the Czech Republic. There will be strong police presences at a number of demonstrations organised by neo-Nazis, nationalists, anarchists and the Communist Party. The reason there are so many events announced for May Day this year is that Prague’s Jewish Community has acquired permission for gatherings in two dozen places, in order to prevent the far right from “booking” those spots.
Police have charged a group of Vietnamese citizens with the cultivation and sale of marijuana. Police uncovered 50 kilos of the drug and over 3,000 marijuana plants during a series of raids in Ústí nad Labem. Nine arrests were made in Ústí, while three more Vietnamese were later detained in Prague. Police said the group were exporting the marijuana to the Netherlands and Germany.
SAPA is about as close as you are going to get to feeling like you are in Hanoi, or Ho Chi Minh City, while you are still, in fact, in Prague. At certain moments, and from certain angles, you can almost forget the prefab housing which surrounds the Vietnamese market, and believe that you are on a completely different continent. SAPA is the heart of the Czech Republic’s rapidly-expanding Vietnamese community, and not for nothing has it been dubbed ‘little Vietnam’. But unlike the Chinatowns that form an integral part of many a city, SAPA is miles
Institutionalized care for disabled people in the Czech lands goes back almost a century to the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Ninety-five years ago in April of 1913 a prominent surgeon by the name of Rudolf Jedlička established a medical-and-educational facility which aimed to give disabled children and adults a chance to live a more dignified, active life.
The Czech Senate’s immunity committee decided on Tuesday not to hand independent Senator Liana Janáčková over for prosecution. Mrs Janáčková stands accused of defamation, after saying that the country’s Roma population should, among other things, be ‘blown up’. The decision has provoked outcry amongst Romany rights groups, who say that the move gives a green light to public displays of racism.
The Czech Senate’s immunity committee ruled on Tuesday that independent senator Liana Janáčková should not be handed over for criminal prosecution. Mrs Janáčková was wanted on charges of defamation based upon ethnic origin and race after making comments about the country’s Roma minority, suggesting they should be ‘blown up’. Mrs Janáčková has apologised for her comments, saying they were ‘silly’ and ‘unfortunate’. The Senate will cast the final vote on whether Mrs Janáčková should be stripped of her immunity, but on Tuesday, the immunity committee recommended by seven votes to two that she should not.
“I’m standing in an area of Prague which is quite close to Prague’s main train station – Hlavní Nádraží. This is an area which has been described as one of the worst areas of Prague in terms of poverty and destitution, but looking round, it looks quite normal to me – there’s a hotel here; there’s shops; there’s all sorts of normal things that you’d expect. So the impression one gets is that poverty isn’t really an issue in Prague if this is as bad as it gets. But that doesn’t really paint the full picture. To the north and to the east of the country,
A Prague court has ruled in favour of the Foreign Ministry in a case involving a female employee over alleged discrimination. The decision comes after a lower-instance court awarded former diplomat Adriana Bašovská one million crowns compensation for unequal treatment at the ministry last year. In the case, she was stripped of authorisation in handling classified data by a superior. The ministry appealed the decision and the Prague municipal court found evidence that the steps taken were the same in the case of a male colleague. Mrs Bašovská worked at the Czech embassy in Libya; in 2002 she was recalled by the Foreign Ministry in Prague. Her superior claimed that she had breached security principles.
The minister for human rights and minorities Džamila Stehlíková is in hot water after making comments which have offended members of the country’s Roma population. In an interview for a local paper, Mrs Stehlíková said that the Czech Roma minority were prone to disrespect the property in which they lived, because they had not had to work for it. She was also quoted as saying that in the cases of Romany children underperforming at school, it was the parents who should be blamed, as they sent their children out to steal and not to learn. Mrs Stehlíková said that her comments had been misconstrued and that she was asked questions which set her up to answer in such a manner. She stressed that she did not think this was the case in all Roma households and apologized for sounding as if she was making generalizations.
Petr Torák is being touted as the ‘new face of British policing’. But he actually comes from Liberec, northern Bohemia. Having emigrated from the Czech Republic with his family in 1999 – following on from a racist attack - he is now working to accommodate the immigrant community in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. His story has captured both the local and the foreign press. I caught up with him on a brief visit back to Prague:
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