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Czech President alleges Romani people "do not want to work" and that "slapping them" is the best way to deal with them

26.9.2018 12:21
Czech President Miloš Zeman speaking on 25 September 2018 in Kojetín, Czech Republic. It was on this occasion that he suggested Romani people
Czech President Miloš Zeman speaking on 25 September 2018 in Kojetín, Czech Republic. It was on this occasion that he suggested Romani people "don't want to work", after which Romani people from around Europe rebuked him by sending him photographs of themselves in their workplaces through social media. (PHOTO: Seznam Zprávy)

Czech President Miloš Zeman recently visited the Olomouc Region and spoke at a public meeting in Kojetín during which he insulted Romani people, saying in the context of unemployment that it was absolutely clear "who" the 5 % of people without work in Kojetín are. He then went on to praise the example of the pre-1989 totalitarian era, when Romani people "had to work" and would be imprisoned if they did not.

News server Seznam Zprávy first reported on the President's racist speech yesterday. "I am decidedly no friend of communism, but during communism Romani people had to work," Zeman said in Kojetín during his three-day visit to the region.

"Most of them worked as ditch-diggers, and if they refused to work, they were designated as work-shy and went to prison," the President said. "The Romani labor platoons were led by Romani men who had natural authority."

"If somebody on their team didn't work, they slapped him around. It's a very humane method that worked most of the time," the President said, to which Olomouc Regional Governor Ladislav Okleštěk and Mayor of Kojetín Jiří Šírek responded by laughing.

This is not the first time the current President has verbally abused Romani people - in November 2017, speaking on the television program "This Week with the President", which is regularly broadcast by the Barrandov cable television station, Zeman alleged that 90 % of the "inadaptable citizens" of the Czech Republic are from the Romani minority and just 10 % are "white drifters". Speaking on the same program in June 2017, he cast doubt on whether the state should buy out the industrial pig farm in Lety u Písku that had been built at the site of a former concentration camp for Romani people during the Second World War.

On that occasion Zeman deceptively alleged that demolition of the farm would cost the public a billion crowns. He was also together with Regional Governor Okleštěk when he decided to cast doubt on whether a physical attack committed against an African man on a tram in Prague by football hooligans had been racist in nature.

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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antigypsyism, Extremism, Miloš Zeman, Racism



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