Far-right extremists on Saturday evening attacked Left-wing demonstrators in the northwest Bohemian town of Most who were protesting against the lifting of mining limits in the area. Police were able to keep around 15 right-wing extremists away from the activists in a first attempt but a brawl later broke out between the two groups at a local restaurant. Five right-wing extremists were arrested. Earlier, three Leftist activists were also arrested for damaging property during the march.
The Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, says the authorities in France will take a far more sensitive approach in future, following the fiery debate that followed the country’s recent expulsion of Romanies from Romania. Mr Schwarzenberg made the comments at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Friday. He recently became involved in a diplomatic spat with Paris, after suggesting there could have been a racist dimension to the expulsions.
The Civic Democratic Party has come up with a plan which would help curb abuse of the welfare system. The proposal, presented by Prime Minister Petr Nečas, entails giving all unemployed persons registered at employment offices a job offer within a month. Should they reject the offer the state would stop paying social insurance on their behalf and they would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits. The job offer might involve requalification, further education or community work.
In this week’s Music Express my guest is the talented singer, rapper and composer Radek Banga, the frontman for one of the Czech Republic’s best-known bands Gipsy.cz. The four-member group first broke onto the scene six years ago and quickly rose to the top with an unusual mix of traditional Romany music crossed with rap, hip hop, pop and r n’b. They have only grown in popularity since.
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg appears to have mended some fences with France on a just completed official visit. After veiled criticism from Mr. Schwarzenberg of French expulsions of Roma, this was set to be an awkward meeting but it seems to have ended with a desire to put future relations between Prague and Paris on a better footing.
Police in the town of Šumperk detained three people in suspicion of murdering a homeless man in the area found dead on Thursday. A spokesman for Olomouc’s regional police said the man had been succumbed to injuries from a severe beating. Police are investigating the exact circumstances. It is the second similar such incident this year, after a homeless man was found dead in February outside a local shopping centre. Police in June charged an 18-year-old with murderer in connection with that case.
A Brno court on Tuesday sentenced a former police officer to three and a half years in prison for a brutal assault on a Vietnamese national which took place in January 2009. The man later died of serious internal injuries. The court also handed a two-and-a- half year sentence to the victim’s flatmate for participating in the attack. Two other policemen, who were standing by but did not interfere, landed conditional sentences.
A storm of outrage erupted in mid August when Prague city council gave the green light for a camp to be created for the capital’s homeless. Human rights groups said it was a throwback to a darker era, non-profit groups argued the step would simply not work. This week’s Talking Point looks at the arguments stirred up about the homeless camp.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas distanced himself on Sunday from reported
comments of Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg about the French
expulsions of Roma or gypsies originally from Romania. Mr. Schwarzenberg
was reported by the Lidove noviny newspaper on Saturday to have said it
impossible not to suspect that a racist perspective played a role in the
ongoing expulsions. He also said the move was against the spirit and
position of the European Union.
The Czech Foreign Minister later told Czech Television that he said the actions gave an outward impression of racism but that he had not described them as racist.
Mr. Nečas said the comments were rash and that he saw no racist subtext in the expulsions which have been championed by French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
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Screenshot: a hybrid English-friendly Prague art-house cinema where screenings are events