On Monday the Czech Republic witnessed some of its worst street violence in recent memory when hundreds of right-wing extremists in the north Bohemian town of Litvínov clashed with Czech police. In the incident, Neo-Nazis veered away from a planned march and attempted to attack a nearby Roma suburb, highlighting long-growing tensions between the local Roma and non-Roma community. The battle lasted some three hours and led to several arrests and more than a dozen injuries.
The Czech government has ordered the Czech embassy in Hanoi to suspend the process of issuing visas to all Vietnamese applicants until further notice. The move comes in reaction to the rise in organized crime among the Vietnamese community in the Czech Republic. Interior Minister Ivan Langer told Czech public television that concrete measures must be taken in order to protect the Czech Republic from mafia practices and criminal activities. The Czech-Vietnamese Society has protested against the blanket measure, saying that only a fraction of the Vietnamese community in the Czech Republic is involved in organized crime.
Neo-Nazis clashed with police in the town of Litvínov on Monday as officers moved in to prevent a 500-strong protest march from reaching Janov, a part of town that is home to a strong Romany minority. Cobblestones, bottles and other objects flew through the air as the police fought to get the situation under control with water canon, tear gas and the sheer number of 1,000 men. Several people are reported injured and a police car was set on fire. The event was organized by the ultra-right Workers Party and the strong gathering was clearly intended as show of strength aimed against the Romany minority. In the Romany quarter some three hundred men gathered to defend their turf, many of them armed with sticks and knives. The police had received strict orders to prevent the two sides from coming into contact.
The Czech Republic has dropped down the World Economic Forum’s rankings for gender equality. This year, the Czech Republic was ranked 69th in the list of 130 countries assessed. In 2007, Czechs ranked 64th. It was Nordic countries which this year topped the list, with Norway ranking first in terms of gender equality, Finland coming second, followed by Sweden and Iceland. A spokesperson from the Czech Women’s Lobby said that she did not see the situation in this country getting worse, but nor did she see it getting better. Countries were assessed on four criteria: women in the workplace, education, politics and the health care system.
The association of Muslims living in the Czech Republic is preparing to file a lawsuit in connection with the screening of the controversial film Fitna at a neo-Nazi gathering in the centre of Prague on Tuesday. The film by the ultra-right Dutch MP Geert Wilders is a denunciation of Islam as a fundamentalist religion that incites violence against other cultures. Tuesday’s gathering in the city centre was organized by the ultra-right National Party and was eventually dissolved by the police on the grounds of its racist and xenophobic content. Thirteen people were detained for questioning. The association of Czech Muslims said it would ask the Interior Ministry to review the party’s registration on the grounds that its statutes alone are in violation of the law.
A demonstration by members of the far-right Workers Party has led to 13 arrests, according to Czech police. The demonstration took place in the centre of Prague, and reports suggest that members were immediately checked by police, with the 13 arrests made as a result of weapons possession charges. The demonstration was to mark a “day of unity” among members of the party.
Deputy PM and Regional Development Minister Jiří Čunek told reporters on Friday that up to 14 billion crowns, or more than 700 million US dollars, of government’s money should be used to improve Romany housing conditions within the next 15 years. The funds should be used within a broader scheme designed by Mr Čunek and his team to tackle the issue of deteriorating Romany living conditions in the country, and to “bring the Roma to a normal way of life”. The scheme, which was presented earlier this year, was criticized by some Romany organizations for planning to divide the Roma into three groups according to their social status.
In the wake of demonstrations by the far-right in the town of Litvínov, an umbrella organisation for Romany associations says Romanies should form self-defence groups. In a statement, Romani Alliance criticised the police for not intervening last Saturday when between three and four hundred neo-Nazis marched on a part of Litvínov with a big Romany population. Police say they reacted in an adequate fashion. Romani Alliance said Romanies should not rely on a failed state apparatus but should prepare themselves to deal with any attack. Meanwhile, TV Nova reported that the far-right activists had threatened to demonstrate again if the local town hall did not deal with the so-called Romany question by the end of the month.
A 400-strong neo-Nazi march through the town of Litvínov ended in violent clashes with the police on Saturday afternoon, as officers barred the way to a part of town inhabited by a large Romany community. The police failed to restrain the extremists and some of them managed to slip through the police cordon to the Roma inhabited area, where some 200 Romanies were waiting for them armed with sticks and other weapons. Re-enforcements were brought in and the police eventually got the situation under control. Several people have been detained for questioning.
Imagine you were born in another European country, who would you be? What would you look like? What languages would you speak? Those were some of the questions students in 22 EU countries, including the Czech Republic, were asked to address in a new competition this year, called Alter Ego. Part of the Year of Intercultural Dialogue promoted by the EU, the competition, which has just wrapped up, invited young people between the ages of 14 and 18 to create their own double portrait through any manner of techniques: drawing, painting, photography,
Olga Lomová: Western misconceptions could let China export much of its system and ultimately contribute to our enslavement
Hitler no ‘gentleman’, but court rules Czech state need not apologize for president’s claim Ferdinand Peroutka said so
Bertha von Suttner – Prague-born peace campaigner whose ideas on cooperation and disarmament continue to have lasting effect
Beijing ends agreement with Prague – but can spat harm Czech capital?
Czechia now ahead of Spain in GDP per capita, but still below EU average
Rare Terezín concentration camp artefacts found in attic of private home
Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott