A town in the Czech Republic is taking unusual measures to combat the problem of homeless people bothering other members of the public – the town council plans to ban lying, sitting or even leaning on concrete waste bins, flights of steps and patches of grass. The town’s mayor says the ban is a last-ditch solution after all other means failed, but homeless advocacy groups say the plan is ridiculous.
Police have charged one person in connection with an attack in Rumburk at the weekend with bodily harm and harm with racial intent. If found guilty, he could face up to 12 years in prison. A second Roma suspect is under investigation and the police are searching for other members of a group of up to 20 aggressors who attacked four people leaving a local discotheque. The incident took place at around five am on Sunday morning; the victims said they were followed by the assailants who allegedly beat them with telescopic batons. Police have not ruled out additional charges in the case.
In related news, Foreign minister and TOP 09 leader Karel Schwarzenberg
has himself for the first time said that the Bátora case could lead to
09 leaving the government. He made the statement in the latest issue of
weekly Týden. The turmoil over Mr Bátora – who in the past ran for the
ultra-right National Party – is the latest in a series of crises that
has threatened the centre-right government’s stability.
Mr Schwarzenberg is to run for re-election as party chairman in the autumn; in the interview he also indicated he would be interested in running for the post of president if direct presidential elections are introduced.
TOP 09 deputy leader and Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has confirmed that only ministerial deputies on behalf of the party will take part in upcoming cabinet meetings. The move is the result of a protest by the right-wing party over controversial state official Ladislav Bátora, who is the head of Human Resources at the Education Ministry and the head of an ultra-right civic association. He has been the centre of controversy since insulting TOP 09 leader Karel Schwarzenberg online, as well as for earlier public statements and opposition to a recent gay pride festival. Minister Kalousek expressed the hope that Mr Bátora would be recalled from his post within a matter of days; fellow coalition member Karolína Peake said the Bátora case would be discussed by party leaders on Tuesday.
Some Civic Democrats have charged that the TOP 09 party are deliberately making use of the controversy surrounding state official Ladislav Bátora to bring down the government and even pave the way for early elections. Deputy leader Pavel Drobil told Parlamentní listy that was what TOP 09’s recent steps suggested to him. But such intent was denied by TOP 09’s deputy leader Miroslav Kalousek. Mr Bátora’s continuation in a high post at the Education Ministry remains unacceptable for coalition party TOP 09 including its leader Karel Schwarzenberg; Mr Bátora has former ties to the extremist National Party and has made numerous controversial statements on the Czech political scene – most recently opposing a gay pride festival in the Czech capital. Two members of the Public Affairs party, meanwhile, are reportedly urging the education minister to recall the official from his post.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas has called on the Education Minister, Josef Dobeš, to distance himself from the statements made by his ultra-conservative advisor and HR chief Ladislav Bátora. The prime minister added that it was simply unacceptable that a conflict over the insults by Mr. Bátora would get in the way of cabinet sessions. Mr. Nečas is planning to address the situation with Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg when he returns from his holiday at the end of the month. Mr. Schwarzenberg had become the target of Mr. Bátora’s insults following his colloquially-phrased criticism that he was inappropriate for his position. In response, Mr. Bátora called him a “poor little old man.” Due to the dispute, cabinet members of the TOP 09 party, of which Mr. Schwarzenberg is the chairman, walked out of a Wednesday meeting of the government and threatened to leave the coalition altogether unless the Education Ministry rebukes Mr. Bátora and dismisses him from his post.
There’s an obscure new trend spreading throughout Central and Eastern Europe - groups of youths from Belgrade to Bratislava to Brno dancing in public to a hardcore Russian techno track, and then posting videos on YouTube. It sounds harmless enough, but the problem is the lyrics have a neo-Nazi subtext.
Hundreds of people from Nový Bor on Monday took part in a demonstration to protest against escalating violence in their home town. The town’s inhabitants called on the local authorities and the police to do more to ensure public safety and restore law and order. The town has witnesses a growing incidence of street violence and crime culminating in a brutal assault on a bar last week when a number of attackers armed with machetes and clubs forced their way into the bar and smashed the place up in revenge for the eviction of two miners who were not allowed to play on the bar’s gaming machines.
Prague’s first gay pride parade passed off largely without incident on Saturday, the highlight of a five-day ‘festival of tolerance’ held in the Czech capital. Up to seven thousand gays and lesbians marched through the city centre to an outdoor music festival, with only minor disruption from far-right demonstrators. The event, dubbed Prague Pride, had been overshadowed by a heated political debate over homosexuality and tolerance in the Czech Republic.
The first Prague Pride march in support of sexual minorities set off across the city centre on Saturday, the main event of the five-day Tolerance Festival. Roughly 5,000 rainbow-clad marchers met at Náměstí Republiky at 1 p.m. and set out for Střelecký Ostrov, where a music festival will be held. Thousands of bystanders also stopped to watch the parade. The prcession was met by a small group of some 40 right-wing extremists at Jungmannově náměstí, some of whom hurled plastic bottles and insults; no other conflicts occurred. A counter-event organised by young Christian Democrats saw about 200 and ended before the gay pride march began.
Archaeologists find unique grave of Roman era warlord in Uherský Brod
Czech Ambassador to Ethiopia Pavel Mikeš: ‘If you wait long enough, an egg will walk on two legs’
New debate erupts over use of -ová suffix in Czech female surnames
Divided by Freedom – Large-scale Czech Radio survey finds six social classes in Czech society
Josef Becher – the man behind Czech Republic’s iconic liqueur