Czech media, police accuse Romani family of inciting brawl with non-Roma at children's pool, Romea.cz first to report the Romani mother's testimony
The Plivátko swimming facility in the Czech town of Dubí is probably the most famous one in the entire country right now. News server Romea.cz has reported that an apparently banal incident among some children playing at the children's pool there first sparked an argument and then a brawl between a Romani woman and a "white" woman.
Men then joined the fighting and the incident became one for the national news. Even though it happened last Tuesday, the major media outlets have not yet managed to get any testimony from a single Romani man or woman who was present at the time to describe their perspective.
News server Romea.cz is now publishing an exclusive interview with an eyewitness to the entire incident who describes the beginning stages of it completely differently than most media outlets have reported (video in Czech here). The beginning of the dispute is described by a woman who was one of the main actors because it concerned her child, who was accused of allegedly trying to "drown" another child and thereby provoking the entire conflict.
The Romani woman denies those allegations. From her perspective, the children were just splashing each other with water.
"That lady grabbed my child by the shoulder, began shaking him, and shouted 'I'm sick of you, you're pissing me off' and then shoved him into the wading pool like a rag," the Romani mother told Romea.cz. She said she ran to her child when she saw that.
"I asked her how dare she push my child like that," the Romani mother said. "She began to curse at us. She threatened to 'cunt-punt' my friend. I picked up my child, who was in shock, and I went back to my blanket," the Romani mother, who has been labeled by most media outlets as the woman to blame for the incident, told news server Romea.cz.
The Romani mother describes the "white" woman as continuing her abuses and shouting, at which point another Romani woman got involved in the conflict. "Why are you being vulgar when you're the one who harmed her child?" the Romani mother describes the other Romani woman as saying, to which the "white" mother responded and then both women began to physically fight.
At that moment a man named David M. arrived on the scene, running from the other side of the swimming facility and jumping into the children's pool. "He hit that Romani woman, shoved her away from him and she fell," an eyewitness named Lucie told news server Romea.cz.
"That led to enormous confusion and shouting. People began jumping into the pool for their children," Lucie said.
Another eyewitness with whom Romea.cz has communicated and whose identity is known to reporters has described the scene similarly. "It happened absolutely differently than what we saw reported on television or how the media are describing this conflict," said this eyewitness whose own blanket was close to the children's pool and who saw the entire dispute from the very beginning.
"David M. attacked first, he ran into the pool and brutally shoved the Romani woman who was fighting with the Czech woman, he punched her. There were no seven Romani men beating him up," this eyewitness went on to say, refuting the current reports in the media.
According to this eyewitness, just two people fought with David M. One of them was the Romani woman who was assaulted, and the other was her brother, who came to her aid.
"The other people who were there ran to the pool to get their children," the eyewitness told news server Romea.cz. Another anonymous testimony describing the incident as having happened differently than media are reporting it has appeared on the Facebook social networking site and was reported on by news server Extra.cz.
That testimony is not from any of the Romani women involved. "I was there at that conflict at the swimming pool in Dubí. The person who began the argument was a woman of our origin [a "white" Czech]. She began to yell at the Romani woman using all kinds of vulgar language, I will not repeat it. Then another lady came over to her politely and said the children were just being children and some other things. Then they began to pull each other's hair. They started to tussle there. A young man then got involved with the fighting and believe me, I saw it with my own eyes, that gentleman shoved the [Romani] woman, and he was being rude and maybe even drunk. I don't know if he was, it would be deceptive of me to say he was for sure. He did stand up for [the "white" woman], my hat's off to him for that, but he should not have gotten involved!" the eyewitness posted to Facebook using the nickname Blond Karča.
News server Romea.cz has since ascertained that her Facebook profile page now has a different name. The original post continued: "It was women who were arguing, not guys. The lady who is crying in all the news reports [the "white" mother] - why hasn't she told the truth? She was sitting on her butt and talking to people, she was not paying any attention to her child, and the lady of Romani origin was also sitting on her butt, and they left their children in the water. If you had been there your hair would have stood right on edge. That gentleman should never have allowed himself to touch that woman! For that reason, the husband [sic] of the woman of Romani origin got involved."
"Do you know how many of our people were there, people of our skin color, and none of them stood up for anybody, they all just stood around. So don't talk nonsense here! The first lady should have been watching her child, and the gentleman had no reason to touch the other lady. If it had to happen, then a woman should have done it, not a gentleman fighting a woman. That's why they jumped at him, that's the truth!!!" the testimony posted to Facebook asserts.
Local and then state police are said to have rapidly responded. "The police officers who arrived did not pay any attention to us at all, they just interrogated the majority-society people, they did not give us any room to tell them anything even though we attempted to do so," the eyewitnesses who have given interviews to Romea.cz said.
"That incident was, in my opinion, absolutely unnecessary, it would never have happened if the Czech ["white"] mother had not provoked it by being crude and vulgar," the eyewitness named Lucie said, adding that she did not believe David M. behaved heroically by shoving the Romani woman. The women who have spoken to Romea.cz say that many people saw what actually happened but are afraid to speak up for fear of their own safety.
Reportedly local people are also afraid of and concerned about racists from the local Workers Social Justice Party (DSSS). The entire scandal over the incident was unleashed on social networks by a follower of the "Freedom and Direct Democracy" (SPD) party, Petr Štefanec, who posts under the nickname Stevie Bobo.
News server Extra.cz first drew attention to that fact, which is easily ascertained from the Facebook profile. All the rest of the the Czech media, however, have uncritically republished his version of the incident.
Štefanec, for example, alleged that David. M's nose had been broken, that his teeth had been knocked out, and that the children's pool was full of blood. "I see this guy, bloodied and torn up, without teeth, but he's alive. The children's pool is full of his blood, I also had his blood on my feet and hands," news server iDNES.cz quoted him as saying.
According to video footage broadcast by the Prima television station, however, which interviewed the injured man, it is apparent that he is not missing any teeth and that his nose is also in the right place. From the photographs published by the media taken immediately after the incident there is no blood to be seen in the children's pool.
Which description of the incident is correct will apparently only be demonstrated by the police investigation. For the time being, that investigation is still accusing just one woman of misconduct - according to information provided to Romea.cz, that womani is Romani, but not the mother of the child over whom the entire conflict allegedly arose.
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