ERRC Calls for Full Prosecution of Anti-Romani Rioters in Czech Republic
25 November 2008
Budapest, 25 November 2008: Today, the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) sent a letter to Czech authorities expressing its concern regarding recent violent clashes between the police and anti-Romani protesters and the rise of anti-Romani hate speech in the Czech Republic's public domain.
On 17 November 2008, demonstrators affiliated with the far right Workers' Party diverted from their declared route, moving away from the Litvinov city centre and marching towards the predominantly Romani neighbourhood Janov. Forceful police action prevented the rioters from reaching Janov, where the outbreak of an anti-Romani pogrom was likely. The ERRC expressed its gratitude to the police forces, particularly those who were injured in the line of duty, in preventing the attackers from reaching Janov.
Recalling that the Czech Republic will take up the EU Presidency, the ERRC urged Czech authorities to use recent events as an impetus for placing Roma issues high on the EU agenda and leading the call for the development of an EU Framework Strategy on Roma Inclusion
In its letter, sent to Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek, Minister of Interior Ivan Langer, Olga Ĺ ebková from Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office and Ombudsman Otakar Motejl, the ERRC urged Czech authorities to ensure that all those who participated in the riot are prosecuted to the full extent of the law and that the racial aspect of the incident is taken into account. The ERRC also requested that, in accordance with its obvious intention, the racist march reportedly being planned for 6 December be monitored and immediately dispersed if any laws are violated, and that the Janov Romani community is protected against further violent assaults. Finally, the ERRC requested that Czech authorities act forcefully against the Workers' Party up to and including disbanding it as provided for by Czech law.
The full text of the ERRC’s letter is available on the Internet at: View it (Acrobat pdf format)!
For further information, please contact: Sinan Gokcen, ERRC Information Officer, email@example.com.