The American centre in Prague hosted a roundtable discussion on Wednesday on the growing threat of extremism, at a time when far-right groups are holding regular rallies in Czech towns and several Romany families have been attacked by neo-Nazis. The discussion was attended by government ministers, Romani rights activists and also groups that monitor far-right extremism. Klára Kalibová is from the monitoring group Tolerance.
A survey of Czech mothers with young children has found that many of them would like to combine childcare with work but cannot. Most are thwarted by a lack of childcare facilities and lack of interest from their former employers in finding ways how they can keep employed. Many just simply face outright discrimination when seeking work.
Around 350 people took part in a “Queer Pride” march in the centre of Tábor on Saturday. Police including riot units were out in force, as members of the far-right Workers’ Party also gathered in the central Bohemian town. A spokesperson said police had kept the extremists, who numbered around 30, away from the gay parade. The Czech Republic’s first big gay pride march, in Brno last June, was cut short when far-right extremists attacked participants.
The Czech government has taken another step to meet its pledge of clamping down on ever bolder manifestations of extremism in the country. The latest move is a guide for town and city halls how to recognise extremist meetings and either refuse them permission to take place from the outset or ban them once they are underway. The ministry of interior hopes the initiative will help clear Czech streets of extremists.
A rise in political extremism in the Czech Republic has been at the centre of media attention in recent weeks, and the past weekend was no exception. In the wake of the biggest ever police operation against the country’s ultra-right groups, far-right radicals took to the streets in a number of towns and cities to protest against the arrest of ten neo-Nazis.
Far-right radicals took to the streets in a number of Czech towns over the
weekend to protest against this week’s crack-down on ultra-right groups.
In the town of Most, north of Prague, police dispersed a gathering of
far-right extremists that was not approved by the town hall, detaining 14
people in the process, among them the deputy leader of the Workers Party
Petr Kotab. In Zlín, south Moravia, an extremist march provoked a series
of skirmishes with anarchists. There too police detained several people.
Smaller gatherings also took place in the towns of Havlíčkův Brod,
Mladá Boleslav and Jablonec nad Nisou. Expecting trouble police were out
in force to secure law and order.
On Tuesday, special police units conducted raids on far-right radicals around the country, in what has been described as the biggest anti-extremist operation ever undertaken. Ten people, all members of the National Resistance group, were detained and later charged with promoting a movement aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms. If found guilty, they face up to eight years in prison.
Speaking at the commemorative ceremony in Lidice, President Vaclav Klaus expressed concern over growing extremism in the Czech Republic and said the authorities should take a much tougher line against its representatives. He said the country’s legislation afforded the means to do so but that some ministers and mayors were unnecessarily cautious in employing those means. Last week the police conducted the biggest ever anti-extremist operation in the country, arresting and charging ten far-right radicals in the process. The interior ministry has promised to provide towns and municipalities with a manual on how to fight various forms of extremism more effectively.
The Constitutional Court has ruled in favour of a man who has accused the Office of the Government of age discrimination. The man claims that he and five other employees over 50 had been sacked on the grounds of a planned re-organization under which their posts were to have been scrapped, but a few months later these positions were all filled by young people under 28 years of age. Several court verdicts went in favour of the Office of the Government until the man filed a complaint with the Constitutional court, which overturned the earlier verdicts in a ruling that is seen as an important precedent. The case will now go back to a lower court to be reviewed.
The families of Prime Minister Jan Fischer and Interior Minister Martin Pecina have been given police protection in the wake of the biggest-ever operation against far-right extremists. Deputy police chief Jiří Houba described the move as a preventative measure made in view of an expected radicalization of far-right groups following a series of raids against far-right radicals around the country. Ten people have been charged with “promoting a movement aimed at suppressing rights and freedoms”. They are all members of the National Resistance movement, one of the two biggest ultra-right groups in the Czech Republic. Prime Minister Fischer has said that he considers the fight against growing extremism a top priority.
The Romany language is dying out in the Czech Republic, but not as rapidly as some had feared, suggests a survey conducted by linguists at Prague’s Charles University. The results of the first study of its kind in this country suggest that around 30 percent of the Czech Republic’s Roma minority are fluent Romani speakers. Earlier today, I met one of the survey’s authors, Helena Sadílková, and asked her first whether the Romani spoken in the Czech Republic varied from that spoken elsewhere in Europe:
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