Czech President: Unrest must end, state must intervene with force
Czech President Václav Klaus believes the state should mercilessly intervene with force to bring an end to any further unrest in North Bohemia. He made the remarks during an interview with the Czech daily Mladá fronta DNES during a visit to the Karlovy Vary region. It was the first statement the president had made about the situation in the Šluknov foothills, where tensions have erupted between ethnic Czechs and Romani people. However, the president also said state intervention is just a short-term solution and that ghettos must be prevented from being created in the first place, news server iDNES.cz reports.
"The state must mercilessly intervene here, intervene with force so this unrest ends. That is simply evident," Klaus said.
However, Klaus also said that ghettos for citizens who are not included in the normal life of society must not be allowed to last. "It's unfortunate, it's horrible, it's something I would never have believed we would import from somewhere else in the world into our country, but unfortunately, it's here. It's not clear what should be done with it, but in any event we should very strictly differentiate between the long-term and short-term solutions," the president said.
Last Saturday the ultra-nationalist Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) convened demonstrations, first in Nový Bor (Česká Lípa district), then in Varnsdorf, and then in Rumburk (both in Děčín district). After the rally in Varnsdorf, a mob left the square and headed for the residential hotels with Romani tenants on T. G. Masaryk street and in the former Sport hotel. The mob started attacking the police, who dispersed them using pyrotechnics and water cannon.
About 200 people protested today in Varnsdorf against Saturday's police intervention, saying the pyrotechnics and water cannon were disproportionate. They also complained that the police approach to addressing crime is unequal, claiming that transgressions committed by Romani people are addressed by police with much milder tactics.
Reactions to Saturday's intervention have varied. The Czech Social Democrats in Ústí region believe the police intervention was adequate. The mayors of towns and villages in the Šluknov foothills have written an open letter to Czech PM Petr Nečas accusing him of inaction and lack of interest in the problems of North Bohemia and asking him to come assist them.
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