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Czech Interior Ministry analysis warns Šluknov district unrest might spread

Prague, 9.11.2011 1:26, (ROMEA)

The exacerbated situation in the Šluknov foothills, where tension has risen between members of the majority population and the Romani minority, could be exploited by extremists to spread anti-Romani sentiment and unrest to other parts of the country. The Czech Interior Ministry says risky localities include those in and around the towns of Chomutov, Most, Ostrava and Teplice. The Czech daily Právo reports that the ministry has released a new analysis of the situation which finds that the situation in Šluknov district is already stabilizing.

Crime has risen in the Šluknov foothills, and locals who feel unsafe are linking that situation to the arrival of new Romani residents in the region. Active protests by long-term residents of the district in August were provoked by a brawl in which about 20 Romani people allegedly attacked a much smaller group of non-Romani locals as they left a discotheque in the town of Rumburk. Area residents have been protesting regularly ever since. Police say their dissatisfaction is also being exploited by right-wing extremist movements for publicity. Police reinforcements are helping oversee the situation there now.

Právo said the ministry's analysis emphasizes that the authorities are battling social problems in the context of the Šluknov district incidents, which is why it is said to be important that municipalities and NGOs be more active. The analysis reports that Lukáš Kohout, the convener of various demonstrations throughout the district, played a very unfortunate role in stirring up unrest and is said to have become the "darling of the crowd".

The authors of the analysis propose training local police officers to better understand local people's problems as a preventive measure for pacifying the situation in the area. The Czech Interior Ministry is also offering municipalities assistance in drafting generally applicable decrees on public order.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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