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Chair of the Czech Pirates says mayor who made racist remarks should be removed from the candidate list "like garbage"

15.7.2022 9:15
Ivan Bartoš (PHOTO: Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)
Ivan Bartoš (PHOTO: Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)

Ivan Bartoš, chair of the Pirate Party in the Czech Republic, Deputy Prime Minister for Digitisation and Minister of Regional Development, has condemned the recent racist remarks made by Mayor of Poděbrady Jaroslav Červinka ("Mayors and Independents - STAN). Bartoš said the mayor must not be allowed to run in the upcoming local elections. 

Speaking at a local assembly session, Červinka indicated recently that he is an advocate of shooting Romani people. The leadership of the STAN movement accepted the mayor's apology for those remarks on Wednesday and stated that it considers the entire matter "closed"

That attitude, however, is being criticized overwhelmingly and demands are being made that the mayor be removed from the candidate list for the local elections in September. The RomanoNet umbrella organization, a petition begun by activist Jan Houška, and an open letter from a member of the Czechoslovak Romani Union, Jaroslav Miko, have all called on the STAN movement to stop the mayor running for re-election. 

"There is no room in this society for 'jokes' about shooting minorities. I cannot comprehend how Mayor Červinka could ever have believed it is ok to tell a story like that, much less to do so during a local assembly meeting," Bartoš tweeted. 

"He said he doesn't want to have to put up with 'clutter and dirt'. His party should be inspired by that and remove him from the candidate list like garbage," Bartoš tweeted along with a pictogram of a Nazi swastika being thrown into a trash can.    

Červinka told a story during a local assembly meeting in late June about an accident that allegedly happened in 2001. He claimed that police had not wanted to deal with the incident because it had allegedly been caused by dogs who were allegedly owned by a Romani man. 

"I may be one of just a few mayors, or the only mayor, to have been officially reprimanded long ago by the head of the district office for being a racist. I decidedly do not support inadaptables and that reprimand back then was pretty much just a big joke, because I did what I did in front of a member of the Police of the Czech Republic when a traffic accident was being dealt with that had been caused by dogs owned by one of our Romani fellow-citizens. I showed up, identified the owner, and the police backed away, saying they did not want to address it because a Romani man was involved, and I then said my memorable sentence that it would be better to shoot them. The cop told me that they should not be shot, that the dogs could not help themselves, and I said I didn't mean it was the dogs who should be shot. That was a Friday afternoon. On Monday I was at the police station making a statement about my tendencies to racism and wanting to shoot our fellow-citizens, but that's not absolutely how it was, it was that I wanted it solved, I don't want to have to put up with such things. Clutter, dirt," the mayor said during the local assembly meeting. 

Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner Klára Laurenčíková Šimáčková called the mayor's remarks unacceptable. The mayor decided to take his walk down memory lane while responding to a motion from local residents complaining about their poor coexistence with a family of Romani origin; he later apologized in an interview for news server Deník N and posted an apology on Facebook as well. 

Zdeněk Ryšavý, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Ivan Bartoš, Komunální, Pirátská strana, Racism



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