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May 19, 2022



Czech local election billboards referencing "riff-raff" reported to police

3.10.2018 8:04
The billboard of the
The billboard of the "Most Residents for Most" association during the 2018 local elections, which reads: "WE WILL BUILD A VILLAGE FOR THE RIFF-RAFF. BENEFIT-FREE ZONES FOR ALL APARTMENT BUILDINGS."

The "Most Residents for Most" (Mostečané Mostu) association will be reported to police because of their campaign slogan "We Will Build a Village for the Riff-Raff", which has been used on their billboards and posters. Monika Mihaličková of the ROMEA organization has initiated the accusation.

"The secretary of that association, František Ryba, in an interview for the Homér weekly in Most, said the association chose the term 'riff-raff' so as to avoid being criticized for using the terms 'gypsies' or 'inadaptables'. It is, therefore, indisputable that Mr Ryba is designating Romani men and women above all with the term 'riff-raff'. The association secretary has expressed to various media outlets the association's intention to 'remove Romani people from Most', which unambiguously refers to spatial segregation," the criminal complaint states.

"We will push the inadaptables out of town, we will introduce housing benefit-free zones in all the endangered residential areas," reads a publication by the association, which is connected to the Krušnohor apartment cooperative, a business drawing millions of crowns worth of subsidies from the European Union intended for socially excluded localities. Mihaličková is also filing a report against a group called "Open Town Hall - Most" (Otevřená radnice Most), whose promotional flier reading "Poison alone is not enough for these pests!" was published on the Facebook social network by one of its candidates, Pavel Kavický, with the comment "Zero tolerance for inadaptables".

Approximately 50 other people are joining both criminal complaints. "One is supposed to be tolerant, but tolerance has limits beyond which it just becomes weakness. The publishers of these billboards and posters are testing how far they can go. The billboards and posters of these two political parties have crossed the line of what we can tolerate. To just leave it be would not only be cowardice, it would mean accepting a newly-established norm for what is possible to publicly declare here in order to attract voters," Mihaličková said, adding that the billboard slogans are pushing Czech society one step further toward the creation of modern ghettos, intolerance, and radicalism.

"It is necessary to object to such calls at all times, and if anybody has the feeling that something has crossed the line, they need to react to it. The state should demonstrate, through the court system, that this is unacceptable, it should send a clear message. If the state fails to do so, then that will be a signal that this country is open to hatred and intolerance, and that the state does not care about how one part of the population - Romani people, in our case - feels," Mihaličková said.

bau, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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