Czech football hooligans attack Romani youth, Roma plan to demonstrate
Romani people in Ostrava and elsewhere in the Czech Republic are determined to do everything they can to make sure the football hooligans who allegedly assaulted a Romani 17-year-old over the weekend don't get away with it. In Ostrava a group of Romani activists, business people and others from all over the city is now forming who are resolved to demonstrate if need be to draw attention to the case.
"We call on the witnesses who were at Penny Market on Saturday at around 19:00 and afterward to contact police as soon as possible," Romani activist Imrich Horvát, who is part of the group, told news server Romea.cz. The victim says football hooligans who were fans of the Baník Ostrava club assaulted him on Saturday at around 19:00.
The hooligans reportedly kicked and punched the youth as he was lying on the ground and slashed at him with something sharp. According to Nikolas Kročen, who called an ambulance for the victim, his face and one hand were cut and he suffered many contusions.
Other reports say the youth's nose was also broken. The attack reportedly took place in the Moravská Ostrava – Přívoz quarter.
The victim is said to have lain for approximately three hours on the grass near the supermarket before he was discovered. Kroščen says the victim was unconscious at first and after regaining consciousness was then unable to move because of the pain for a long time.
The victim is still hospitalized and neither he nor any of his family members want to discuss the case. "If the police do not properly investigate, and if city hall doesn't cooperate, we won't let it go. We are determined to demonstrate, for example. No one will sweep this case under the rug," a Romani businessman from Ostrava who did not want to be named told news server Romea.cz.
City hall should primarily cooperate through the municipal police, who own several of the security cameras positioned on streets throughout the city. Romani people in Prague and elsewhere are also resolved to support their colleagues in Ostrava.
Miroslav Rusenko of the Romani Democratic Party (Romská demokratická strana - RDS) says the party leadership is grieved by the incident. Should the situation require, the RDS will convene a protest march in Prague in front of the Office of the Government.
"We've had enough of these Fascist freaks beating up our children," Rusenko posted on Facebook. The number of Romani people on social networks who are also grieved by the news and expressing support for taking action is rising.
Those comments include the following:
- "This calls for a demonstration! If Romani people had done this there would be hell to pay and mega-demonstrations, pogroms, petitions and I don't know what all else. Nazi tripe!"
- "Those so-called fans are practically the same people who participate in the neo-Nazis parties' demonstrations, travelling all over the country sparking fear and violence. They go to football with one aim, to show their strength through insults and street fights - including at political demonstrations, mainly those by the DSSS. Unfortunately, the state is silent about this and rarely responds to it. When the police do intervene, the punishments are insignificant and ridiculous."
- "Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth!"
- "We are grieved by what has happened in the Czech Republic. The news is spreading here in Canada."
- "Romale, let's join forces for our children. This is the last straw."
Police have not yet responded to questions from news server Romea.cz regarding the case. Unconfirmed reports claim the violent thugs also stole money from their victim.
"When I saw him on the street he could barely drag himself along. He was beaten up, his face was cut, and I noticed his hand was cut too. According to what he told me, he was assaulted by five or six Baník hooligans," Nikolas Kroščen, who also called an ambulance for his victimized friend, told news server Romea.cz yesterday.
The injured youth could reportedly barely walk after the assault, and as he limped along, he said his entire body was in pain. "After they beat him up he lay in front of the Penny Market on the grass unconscious. When he came to, he couldn't move because of the pain for a long time. He lay there for about three hours total. Once he started heading home, I was lucky enough to run into him near the store," Kroščen said.
The victim's parents say he is awaiting an operation. "In my view this is obviously a racially motivated attack. This is the first time since the anti-Romani demonstrations last year that something like this has happened in Ostrava. It's true that Friday nights on Stodolní Street are also not safe for Romani people, but what happens there are mostly just beatings - nothing so bloody that someone ends up in hospital," Romani activist Imrich Horvát of Ostrava told news server Romea.cz.
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