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September 17, 2019
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Czech Police: Election slogan about "pests" and "poison" a misdemeanor, use of "riff-raff" ok

21.1.2019 16:05
The hateful flier distributed by the group called
The hateful flier distributed by the group called "Open Town Hall - Most" (Otevřená radnice Most) during its campaign prior to the local and Senate elections in 2018.

According to the Ústecký Regional Police Directorate, the "Most Residents for Most" (Mostečané Mostu) movement committed neither a felony nor a misdemeanor with its election campaign last year, and those who complained over slogans such as "We will build a village for the riff-raff", or "Inadaptables don't just need to be addressed, they need the final solution" have received written notification of the police decision. However, an election poster for the "Open Town Hall - Most" (Otevřená radnice Most) movement will be assessed as a misdemeanor for its slogan "Poison alone is not enough for these pests."

That poster was published with a comment reading "Zero tolerance for the inadaptables" on the Facebook page of one of the top candidates on the list for that movement, Pavel Kavický, and the leading candidate for the movement was former Czech Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Karel Novotný, who left the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) after a racist remark he made against Romani people was publicized by the media. The police communication says that according to an expert assessment by a political scientist specializing in extremism, "the poster could be read as a composite targeting Romani people, but it does not involve a specific call for hate against any group, or activity, or for restriction of anybody's rights and freedoms."

"In this case, the speech is an expression of irony and ridicule responding to dissatisfaction with the situation and the existing state of affairs in the town of Most that can be understood content-wise to be socially flawed, but that does not meet the definition of hate speech against a group, an activity, or a call for the restrictions of the human rights and freedoms of others," the expert believes. According to the Ústecký Regional Police, therefore, "Open Town Hall - Most" did not commit a felony, but the case has been delivered for review as a misdemeanor to the relevant administrative body.

Conclusions differ from police for similar slogans

The election posters and slogans of both movements sparked tensions in Most during their local campaigns last October, as well as public resistance, and crime reports were filed against the movements' representatives over the issue, initiated by Monika Mihaličková of the ROMEA organization. "It is startling that these campaign slogans, which are so similar in principle, have been assessed so differently by police," she commented to news server Romea.cz.

" 'Most Residents for Most' is said to have committed no offence with their slogans, but 'Open Town Hall - Most' has committed a misdemeanor," Mihaličková told news server Romea.cz. "We can only speculate as to whether this conclusion by police is not itself associated with the local election results, in which 'Most Residents for Most' made it to third place, but 'Open Town Hall - Most' lost completely."

The criminal report against "Most Residents for Most" included the following information:  "Association secretary František Ryba, speaking in an interview for the Homér weekly in Most, said the association had chosen the term 'riff-raff' so as to not be criticized for using either the terms 'gypsies' or 'inadaptables'. It is, therefore, proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that the term 'riff-raff' is intended by Mr Ryba to mean Romani men and women above all."

"The association secretary has also expressed himself to other media outlets as contemplating 'removing the Roma from Most' (an unequivocal reference to spatial segregation)," the criminal report states. Ryba is also the vice-chair of the Krušnohor Cooperative for Housing Construction, which publishes a bulletin through which his racist campaign has been disseminated and is being delivered in printed form to residents' mailboxes in Litvínov and Most.

voj, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Komunální, Most, Policie, trestní oznámení



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