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July 18, 2018
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Czech Police charge young woman over hateful online speech against first-graders

9.7.2018 7:29
The photograph that sparked a wave of online racism. The faces and names of the pupils in the first grade of the Plynárenská School in Teplice, Czech Republic have been blurred in order to protect their identities.
The photograph that sparked a wave of online racism. The faces and names of the pupils in the first grade of the Plynárenská School in Teplice, Czech Republic have been blurred in order to protect their identities.

The Czech daily Mladá fronta DNES reports that a young woman from the Tachov area has been charged in the case of the hateful, racist commentaries posted beneath a photograph of first-graders at a primary school in Teplice. If convicted she faces up to three years in prison.

"The Police Commissioner has begun the criminal prosecution of a 26-year-old woman and accused her of committing the offense of violence against a group and its individual members, and of inciting hatred against a group or inciting the restriction of their rights and freedoms," Tachov police spokesperson Dagmar Jiroušková confirmed to the paper. The photo of first-graders at the school was published last autumn by the regional daily Teplický deník and sparked a wave of hateful reactions.

The photograph and the names of the pupils and their teachers then appeared on a nationalist website, from where it was shared, frequently with hateful commentaries, by hundreds of people. The class is comprised predominantly of Arab and Romani children.

One of the commentaries was "A grenade would fit in there perfectly ..." In April, police in Frýdek-Místek accused the author of that comment of inciting hatred against a group or inciting the restriction of their rights and freedoms.

Police are beginning to address another suspect in this case, but for the time being have not been able to interrogate him. Police believe he is abroad.

The situation also sparked a wave of solidarity. The ROMEA organization put together a special fundraising campaign thanks to which the school acquired financial support.

"We began a fundraising campaign last autumn along with Ivan Gabal called 'THEY WANT TO GAS THEM, WE WANT TO SEND THEM TO SCHOOL!'  to support the school after it was attacked online with hateful comments about the children in its first grade class. A total of 774 donors contributed to the Romani Scholarship campaign from all over the Czech Republic, and of the overall amount donated, 50 % of the donations, in the amount of CZK 225 000 [EUR 8 700] was delivered in January to the school," said Monika Mihaličková, the fundraiser for the ROMEA organization.

Last week the children were given tablets and some of the financing raised has been used to bring the educational program "Studio Karavan", about Europe, to pupils in the first through sixth grades, as well as to run an educational program of primary prevention for the fifth through ninth grades. "From the overall donation of CZK 225 000 we have spent CZK 131 209 [EUR 5 000]," principal Marcela Prokůpková recently informed the public.

vhl, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Tags:  

Nenávist, Police, Racism, Teplice



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