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Czech Police recommend Romani residents stay home during ultra-right march

Most (Chanov), 4.4.2012 20:25, (ROMEA)
Director of the Municipal Police in Most, Bronislav Schwarz (PHOTO:  Jitka Votavová)

A meeting was held today at the community center at the Chanov housing estate in Most between representatives of the church, the Hate is No Solution initiative, the municipal and state police, and local residents. The main aim of the meeting was to agree on a common approach toward Saturday's march at Chanov by supporters of the Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) and radical neo-Nazis from the National Resistance (Národní odpor - NO), who will be demonstrating their strength beneath the windows of the Romani families who live there. ROMEA TV requested permission to film today's meeting, but the organizers would not permit it.

The community center discussion was completely dominated by police representatives and their paradoxical tactical recommendation of "Don't be afraid - stay home". Opening remarks were made by the director of the Municipal Police in Most, Bronislav Schwarz. His speech to the Romani residents, expressed in very familiar language that involved a fair amount of vulgarity, clearly communicated that it would be best for Chanov residents to remain shut up at home and that they neither express themselves nor show themselves during the march. “Don't be terrorized, just stay home. This is all just journalists bullshitting that someone is coming here. No one's coming here," Schwarz recommended.

What Schwarz thinks of Romani people was recently revealed in a statement he gave to the tabloid news server Parlamentnílisty.cz. He was quoted by them as saying that "out of 100 Gypsies, 10 are decent and hardworking, and we shouldn't throw them into the same bag as the rotten ones."

Representatives of the Hate is No Solution initiative then tried to inform local Romani people of the possible risks of the neo-Nazi march and the predicted number of marchers, of which there could be several hundred. At that moment, police director Schwarz interrupted the initiative representatives and said that both they and evangelical minister Mikuláš Vymětal were trying to frighten the Chanov residents. “You're terrifying my people here. This is ridiculous. We, the police, will have the Nazis covered - what you Romani people call 'fucked up'. Don't listen to these other people," said Schwarz.

Police Colonel Heřman, the commander of the security measures on Saturday, used rhetoric similar to that of director Schwarz. "The Workers will just pass through and make a speech. They don't want to lynch you, they don't want to take arms up against you... They're just coming to make noise," said Heřman, who shares the Municipal Police director's notion that Romani people should not leave their apartments on Saturday. “What have these other gentlemen ever done for you? How many children's days have they organized for you? What do the police and the town do for you? You're taken care of here," Heřman told the Romani residents.

Heřman's final remarks were as follows: “If you obstruct the march in any way, the police will be obliged to intervene against you. Who here wants us to have to intervene against you, the Roma?"

After the police left, Romani residents regrouped in front of the community center building, where the debate continued. Representatives of Hate is No Solution, including Jozef Mikero from Krupka, a Romani member of the group who has experienced many neo-Nazi marches in Krupka, got the opportunity to speak with other Chanov residents, as did the evangelical minster.

“The discussion with the men and women there lasted another hour. Opinions other than those presented by police representatives were expressed by people as to how to stand up to Saturday's neo-Nazi march. Many people are of the opinion that they would like to peacefully express their disagreement with the neo-Nazi march in a dignified way, such as putting up banners against racism," said Vymětal.

The DSSS has announced its "March on Chanov" for Saturday, 7 April, which is Holy Saturday according to the Christian calendar. During this provocation, the right-wing extremists intend to march from the Most train station to the Chanov housing estate, where they will make speeches in Zlatnická street. The Hate is No Solution initiative has decided to take action against the provocation.

Gwendolyn Albert, Jitka Votavová, Jitka Votavová, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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