Education Minister Josef Dobeš says he knows who was responsible for publishing the sensitive information of Roma students on the ministry’s website on Monday. Mr Dobeš told reporters on Wednesday that he was still unsure whether the leak was intentional or accidental, but that the individual will be fired. Information about almost 900 Roma students receiving financial support – including their names, addresses and dates of birth – was published temporarily on Monday on the website of the Ministry of Education before being reported on by Czech Television.
In late 2006, Jiří Čunek, then mayor of the eastern town of Vsetín and later Christian Democrat chairman, made a controversial decision to move several hundred Romany rent-defaulters out of a dilapidated block of flats in the town centre and relocate them in a complex of portacabins on the outskirts of Vsetín. Now, five years on, most of them are choosing to move even further – as far as the United Kingdom.
The police on Saturday detained two people at an anti-Romany rally in the town of Rotava, in northern Bohemia. A police spokesman said they were suspected of hate crimes. The police also confiscated several baseball bats, golf clubs and knives at the rally, organized by the extremist Workers’ Party of Social Justice. Some 400 people, including dozens of extremists from Germany, turned up for the rally who later marched through parts of town mostly inhabited by Romanies.
Some 30 far-right extremists gathered at a rally organized by the Workers’ Party of Social Justice in the north-eastern town of Havířov on Friday. The rally, which had been banned by the local authorities, lasted for about 30 minutes; the party chair, Tomáš Vandas, criticized the authorities for allegedly oppressing the freedom of speech in the country. The organizers face a fine for holding the rally despite the ban.
Fraudster and organiser of anti-Roma protests Lukáš Kohout has been sentenced to ten months in prison for breaching the conditions of his probation. According to Czech Television, Mr Kohout neither visited his probation officer nor attempted to compensate for damages after being conditionally released from prison, where he was sent for fraud and theft. He said he is unaware of the charges. Kohout has organised several of the recent demonstrations in North Bohemia, some of which resulted in clashes with police. He is known primarily for posing as a political official in 2002 and ordering several flights abroad.
More than 200 police officers monitored a meeting of right-wing extremists in Rakovník, west of Prague on Saturday, where radicals gathered to honour a colleague murdered in the town three years ago. The person was killed in an incident at a local discotheque and fellow extremists have gathered annually since. Around 60 of them met on a local square at around 7 pm, but the meeting lasted only several minutes. The police registered no incidents.
In this special programme, David Vaughan looks at a unique project to encourage children with musical talent who come from some of the poorest families in the Czech Republic. The project enables primary school children to learn to play with some of the country’s foremost classical musicians. Its success is a reminder of the power of music to cross boundaries of language, class and culture.
Police Chief Petr Lessy on Thursday promised local mayors in Northern Bohemia an increased police presence in the area to ward against increased crime and disputes between locals and incoming Roma communities. Mr Lessy said he would be sending a 50-man patrol to Varnsdorf that would later be the foundation for a special force of 170 officers that should be established next year. Racial tensions in the area have been high of late, with anti-Roma demonstrations taking place on a weekly basis.
President Václav Klaus – on a three-day visit to the region of Ústí
in northern Bohemia – has slammed groups apparently trying to take
advantage of social unrest in the area for their own political gain. The
president accused some of purposely whipping up tensions in troubled
mentioning by name past fraudster Lukáš Kohout – an organiser of
anti-Roma demonstrations. In September police officials warned that
extremist right-wing groups would try and use growing social unrest in
northern Bohemia to their advantage.
Later on Wednesday, the Czech president will meet with local mayors to discuss developments. But some officials have charged the president should have more specifically tailored his visit to address what was going on. One local mayor, Josef Zoser, has criticised the president for not meeting members of the public but only with elected officials.
Members of the Belarusian community in the Czech Republic would like to be
officially recognized as an ethnic minority, the news website idnes.cz
reported on Saturday. They have addressed several petitions to the Czech
government; however, Czech officials said they would have to wait for the
results of this year’s population census to determine how many
Belarusians living in the country also have Czech citizenship, a
prerequisite to be recognized as a minority. The other is the community’s
historical roots in the country.
The Belarusian community in the Czech Republic is estimated to have around 1,000 members. The country officially recognizes 12 minorities, including Romanies, Slovaks, Ukrainians and others with the notable exception of the Vietnamese.
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