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Commentary: Czech mayor declares war on "inadaptables" again

11.3.2015 19:12, (ROMEA)
In the year 2007 protests were held in front of the Office of the Czech Government in Prague against the policies of Jiří Čunek.  (Photo:  Lukáš Houdek)
In the year 2007 protests were held in front of the Office of the Czech Government in Prague against the policies of Jiří Čunek. (Photo: Lukáš Houdek)

Mayor Jiří Čunek (Christian Democrats) has announced to the Czech News Agency that the town hall in Vsetín is establishing a working group on the issue of "inadaptables" and will "seek measures to make the town calm and safe and options for stopping these groups of inhabitants or individuals from causing problems and tensions in town." The Czech News Agency reports that the mayor believes the town hall needs to review whether its position on rent defaulters or other citizens who have repeated problems with maintaining order might be too generous in some cases.

"We will certainly find cases in which such people will be forced to leave their municipally-owned apartments and maybe even the town itself," the mayor noted. Those are strong words, even for Čunek!  

The mayor is saying he will evict people from their apartments and deport them from the town. He is certain he will find people who fit the bill!

Čunek, of course, has a great deal of experience with deporting "inadaptables" from his town - he moved dozens of mainly Romani people beyond the city line during his previous tenure at the town hall. Back then this matter sparked a sharp response of disagreement.  

The mayors of the communities into which Čunek transported these new Romani residents were not the only ones to complain. Many politicians and even "normal" people objected as well.  

The question is how strong that disagreement will be today. In the interim, Čunek masterfully won election to the Czech Senate and has now returned to lead the Vsetín town hall.

The sympathies of the "majority" toward Romani people, according to public opinion surveys, are at an all-time low. It is also anticipated that municipalities will be taking on greater powers and responsibilities in the area of social housing on their territories.  

The outcome of such increased responsibilities, of course, can be one form of "eviction" or another. The Czech Government may have recently approved the Romani Integration Strategy to 2020 and may even have a Strategy to Combat Excluded Localities, but there is not much yet to indicate that politicians like Čunek feel they are on the defensive.

Things seem to be heading in exactly the opposite direction here. The fact that today the Czech News Agency, which is a "public" wire service, uses the term "inadaptables" without putting it in scare quotes is a testament to the fact that the atmosphere in society is tending more toward Čunek's side. 

Michal Komárek, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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