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Czech police check governor's suspected anti-Romany move

Usti nad Labem, 30.9.2008 11:08, (ROMEA)

The Czech police are enquiring into the mega billboards that Jiri Sulc (Civic Democrats, ODS) has had installed in towns of the Ustecky region ahead of the regional polls and that some suspect of being racist, the daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes today.

Sulc, governor of the Ustecky region that has a strong Romany community, will seek re-election in the October 17-18 polls.

The three billboards he has had installed in the towns of Usti nad Labem, Litvinov and Most as part of his election campaign feature the slogan "Work hard, gadji, so that we get better-off!."

"Gadji" is the Romany expression for people who are not of Romany origin.

Sulc has dismissed the billboards' racist or anti-Romany meaning.

He says the billboards only unusually reflect the nationwide problem of certain people abusing social allowances.

He says the slogan was not his own idea but he "borrowed" it from the wall of a house in Litvinov, where it was written by an unknown author.

LN writes that the police have not come to any conclusion yet in connection with the billboards.

The tabloid Aha!, which also refers to the case, says the police are checking it on the basis of a criminal complaint.

Sulc's colleagues from the ODS, the senior ruling party which will be defending its dominant position in regional assemblies and councils, reportedly are far from enchanted at Sulc's style of campaigning.

CTK
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