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July 6, 2022



Czech municipal department mayors claim they object to housing Romani refugees from Ukraine in their parts of Prague

26.5.2022 9:07
The "tent city" for Romani refugees from Ukraine in Prague's Troja neighborhood. (2022)

The leaders of the municipal departments of Prague 5 and Prague 10 are criticizing Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) for the planned placement of Romani refugees from Ukraine on their territories. The local mayor of Prague 10, Renata Chmelová (Vlasta), has stated that her municipal department was never informed of the plan to build a tent town in the Malešice neighborhood for 150 Romani refugees from Ukraine. 

The Municipal Council of Prague 5 announced on Wednesday that Hřib had allegedly decided to place 120 Romani refugees from Ukraine in a building in Vrchlického Street without ever consulting the local authority. Prague City Hall has rejected the criticisms and says that the location in Malešice in Prague 10 was selected by the Interior Ministry from properties owned by the state, while the building's owner in Prague 5 took the initiative to offer that property for this purpose. 

Chmelová posted to Facebook that she learned about the plan to place Romani refugees from Ukraine in Malešice on Tuesday morning from another official in Prague 10 and that Mayor Hřib had assured her he will not need Prague 10 to contribute to it in any way. Prague City Hall spokesperson Vít Hofman said in response that the Prague 10 site had been selected by the ministry because it is owned by the Czech Post Office, that the agreement was concluded on Monday evening, and that Chmelová was informed about it before it was officially announced on Tuesday by Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan (Mayors and Independents - STAN). 

The Mayor of Prague was also criticized yesterday by the management of the municipal department of Prague 5, according to which he "arbitrarily decided to place Romani refugees from Ukraine in Prague 5 without prior consultation with the local authority"; Prague 5 municipal department mayor Renáta Zajíčková (Civic Democratic Party - ODS) said "Prague City Hall has repeatedly failed to engage in dialogue with the municipal department of Prague 5, which we consider to be very important, especially in this situation." The local authority in Prague 5 says the location on Vrchlického Street is already burdened critically by a drop-in drug replacement treatment facility that a significant number of substance users visit.

Hřib told the Czech News Agency that he telephoned Zajíčková to inform her the building's private owner intended to accommodate refugees from Ukraine in his property. "I also promised that security would be ensured on site and in the area," he said.

"This is not an authorized decision of mine, but the decision of the building's private owner. If this local mayor from the ODS has a different opinion about how the owner should handle his private property, let her contact him directly," Hřib said. He added that, according to his information, the state police had addressed security measures directly with Mayor of Prague 5 Zajíčková on the spot on Tuesday.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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