Skinhead attacks on Roma in Czech Republic
05 December 2000
Roma in the northern Czech town of Most have recently been victims of a series of attacks. According to ERRC investigations, on September 8, 2000, at about 10:50 PM, a group of skinheads attacked Mr Jiří S., a thirty-four year old Romani man, in front of Topolová Street 565 as he was walking home. They hit him on the head with a bottle, and he lost consciousness. While he was unconscious they kicked him repeatedly all over the body, hit him on the head with a rock, and left him, still unconscious. He was later found and taken to the hospital. Mr Jožef Sivák, chair of the recently formed local non-governmental organisation Roma Information Centerlice have accused Mr Jožef Paník, 17-years old, of aggravated bodily harm and rioting, under Criminal Code Articles 222(1) and 202(1), with no racial motive, in relation to the attack on Mr Jiří S. The judge decided on September 15, 2000 that Mr Paník should be taken into police custody, as he had already been indicted for aggravated bodily harm and rioting on June 5, 2000, with five other people, for attacks on November 26 and December 3, 1999. The other attackers in the September 8 incident were, as of November 13, 2000, unknown.
On October 20, 2000, Mladá Fronta Dnes reported another skinhead attack in Most. At 1:00 PM on October 19 a group of skinheads armed with knives and baseball bats attacked six Romani students of the Integrated Technical Secondary School in Most at the tram station near the school. One of the students suffered a deep laceration on his head. When the police arrived they had to call for emergency transport of the young man to the hospital. Mr Spaček, the deputy of the school, informed the ERRC on October 24, 2000, that the teachers at the school had been asked to keep watch over the area surrounding the school in order to prevent further violence.
Starting in August 2000, the Roma in Most have undertaken regular street patrols, equipped with mobile phones to call the police if they see any instances of violation of law such as drug abuse, racial crime and rioting. The thirteen Romani men involved in the patrols are employed by the Work Office to assist the police with security. The Work Office provided training in typewriting, fighting arts, Czech language, sports and other subjects for them in Kladno in November, according to Czech TV and a November 10 report in the daily Právo. The patrols are not armed but are authorised to wear uniforms.
(Czech TV, ERRC, Mladá Fronta Dnes, Právo)