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June 4, 2020
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Czech media falsely accuse Romani mourners of breaking the law after cemetery employee calls police

24.4.2020 7:10
Saint Otelia Cemetery in České Budějovice, Czech Republic. (PHOTO:  Jitka Erbenová, Wikimedia Commons)
Saint Otelia Cemetery in České Budějovice, Czech Republic. (PHOTO: Jitka Erbenová, Wikimedia Commons)

There has been a great hulabaloo in the Czech media about a funeral held by a Romani family on Wednesday at the Saint Otelia Cemetery in České Budějovice. An employee of the cemetery called a local police patrol to the scene and that fact has been seized on by the media to blow the "incident" out of proportion.

News server iDNES.cz incorrectly reported that a regulation allegedly allowing a "maximum of 30 people" at a ceremony of mourning had been violated by the funeral. However, there has been no Government decree issued in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic limiting the number of people at a funeral.

The news server incorrectly reported that the current ban on public assembly also applies to funerals. According to the actual Emergency Regulation, however, funerals are one of many exceptions to which the ban on public assembly does not apply, and the Emergency Regulation does not define the maximum number of attendees at a funeral.

Moreover, the local police did nothing to stop the funeral after being called to the scene. "The cemetery management reported to us that a number of people were assembling there at the same time. We sent a patrol to investigate whether illegal behavior was happening there per the Emergency Regulation of the Government of the Czech Republic," Věra Školková, press spokesperson for the municipal police in České Budějovice, told news server Romea.cz.

"The patrol just informed those on the scene that according to the Government edict it is necessary to maintain two meters of distance from other people," the spokesperson told Romea.cz. David Štýfal, another spokesperson for the municipal police, later informed Romea.cz that all those attending the funeral had been wearing face masks and that no illegal behavior had been committed.

SB, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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COVID-19, Hoax, Police, Roma



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