Memorial services have been taking place at the site of a former concentration camp in the town of Lety. This is the 13th year the Czech Republic has marked the Romany Holocaust. But the site in Lety, still borders a pig farm despite repeated calls by various groups for it to be closed down. Radio Prague’s Rosie Johnston joins us from Lety.
Last year saw the first inception of the Out of Home sports & music festival aimed at helping kids from Czech children’s homes. This week the festival returns – a chance for those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get to the Czech capital to not only to compete in sports events at Sparta Prague, but also to see bands like Gipsy.cz or Britain’s Fun-da-mental at Prague’s Štvanice Island. Proceeds will go towards continuing social programmes and activities but also towards a new café which will provide some leaving homes with their first jobs.
Prague City Hall has banned four marches planned by right-wing extremists for May 14, a spokesman for the council said Friday. Neo-Nazis wanted to march from the capital’s Letná district to the Isreali Embassy on Badeni Street. Organisers said the marches were to protest against ‘Jewish chauvenism’, Prague City Hall said that such protests were ‘actually aimed at inciting hatred on grounds of religious conviction’. The outlawed marches would have coincided with another meeting, organized by the Prague Jewish Community, in front of the embassy at the same time.
A controversial documentary by Dutch far-right MP Geert Wilders, which this year sparked protests across the Muslim world, has been screened for the first time in the Czech Republic. Monday’s screening of the film Fitna in Brno was organized, perhaps surprisingly, by the Czech Muslim community, which is mainly centred in the Moravian capital.
A Czech daily has alleged that a secret neo-Nazi network operates in Czech prisons, giving jailed neo-Nazis financial and moral support. Hospodářské noviny broke the story on Monday claiming that it had a list of the network’s members and its alleged head Michal Kašpar, a former police officer. The daily says that neo-Nazis who are jailed for racially-motivated crimes are considered “prisoners of war” by this organization for allegedly fighting a “just cause to save the white race”. Money raised at neo-Nazi concerts allegedly goes to this organization which then sends it to the jailed members’ accounts and covers lawyers’ fees. The Czech prison service says it knows nothing about such a network.
Prague City Hall has banned a planned march by right-wing extremists in the vicinity of the Israeli Embassy in Prague on March 14th on the grounds that the venue was already booked by the Jewish community. Prague Town Hall was asked to grant permission for the march by its organizer Petr Kalinovský, who stated that its intention was “to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel”. A spokesman for Prague City Hall said the municipal authorities did not believe this to be the case, since Kalinovský is a well-known former spokesman for the neo-Nazi National Resistance movement.
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
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