A leading Roma advocacy group has suspended co-operation with the interior ministry, accusing the police of going soft on far-right extremism. The group – Romea - says at several neo-Nazi demonstrations this year police allowed marchers to shout racist slogans without making any arrests. The Czech interior ministry denies the claims.
Anders Behring Breivik, who admitted carrying out Friday’s twin terror attacks in Norway that killed 93 people, visited the Czech capital last year in search of weapons. In a manifesto published on the day of the attacks, attributed to the Mr Breivik, the terror suspect wrote that his failure to do so in Prague led to him to acquire a rifle and a handgun legally in his homeland. In the document, the 32-year-old right-wing, anti-Islamist fundamentalist also quotes Czech President Václav Klaus’ criticism of the EU.
Some 150 right-wing extremists staged a march through the town of Svitavy on Saturday in support of imprisoned skinhead Vlastimil Pechanec who was convicted of the murder of a Svitavy Romany man in 2001. Some 130 riot police members, including officers on horseback, and a police helicopter monitored the march during which no incidents were registered a police spokeswoman told the ČTK news agency. Participants carried posters proclaiming Mr Pechanec’s innocence and met on the square. Far-right extremists have held demonstrations in Svitavy for several years.
Four people have been arrested on suspicion of having firebombed the home of a Roma family in Central Bohemia on Monday. Police say that the group had been walking around the village of Býchory in the early hours of Monday and calling out racist slogans, before one of them threw a lit torch into the occupied house. The residents were able to extinguish the fire without injury. The suspects, aged 20 to 25, were detained later in the day and are being investigated for attempted grievous bodily harm; should a racial motive be determined they will face up to 12 years’ imprisonment.
The Czech Republic’s leading Roma advocacy group, Romea, has announced they are suspending their collaboration with the Ministry of the Interior, saying their relationship and the ministry’s work in combating right-wing extremism has taken a sharp turn for the worse. Citing the approach of the police towards extremist demonstrations this year, the ministry’s cancellation of a multilateral task force and other issues, Romea says further cooperation between them will depend on how numerous missteps will be redressed.
Czech women’s pensions are significantly lower than those of their male counterparts, statistics from the Czech Social Security Administration reveal. While male pensioners receive an average of about 11,700 Czech crowns per month, females who are retired have to make do with around 9,500 crowns per month. Their monthly pension is about a fifth lower than that of men. In addition to the number of years that someone has been employed, other factors also influence the total sum of one’s pension. On average, working Czech women’s salaries are about 25 percent below those of men’s.
In its second half, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will feature the Slovak film Cikán, Gypsy, by Martin Šulík, as well as over fifty other films. Mr. Šulík will present his film at the festival on Tuesday, calling it his most personal work yet. The American film and theater actor Martin Donovan also appeared at the festival on Tuesday, together with director Hale Hartley, with whom he has collaborated on many occasions. In its 46th year, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival features over 200 films, many of them by first-time directors.
In this week’s business news: Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has presented three different options for state budget cuts, the Labor Ministry has announced a tender for the new welfare payment cards, direct flights between Prague and Abu Dhabi will be launched in September, for the third time this year, a Czech travel agency files for bankruptcy, and a Czech daily writes that Vietnamese small business owners are often blackmailed into paying protection money.
Muslim leaders from the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia came to Prague on Tuesday to share their experiences and to discuss the challenges faced by their communities. The numbers of the Muslim populations in their countries vary significantly, as do their historic backgrounds. But the debate showed that some challenges are shared by Muslims across the region: islamophobia, media bias, and severe legislative restrictions.
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