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Czech Republic: Media say another inter-ethnic incident occurred in Varnsdorf on New Year's Eve

Varnsdorf, 6.1.2012 18:21, (ROMEA)

TV Nova reports that police in the Czech Republic are searching for a group of young Romani people who allegedly assaulted three non-Romani people in the town of Varnsdorf on New Year's Eve, shouting racist slurs at them during the attack. Police are saying the attack was not racially motivated. Two of the victims were hospitalized.

A series of anti-Roma demonstrations took place in Varnsdorf several months ago as a result of similar media reports interpreting incidents of assault in the area as ethnically motivated. According to the latest information, a brawl in the nearby town of Rumburk last summer now seems to have been motivated by other concerns.

TV Nova reports that two parents were accompanying their son to a taxi after a New Year's party when they were attacked by a group of youths. One victim said the youths physically and verbally assaulted his father and that he was doing his best to protect him when he was struck from behind. The victim came to in the hospital suffering from spinal contusions and many bruises. He told TV Nova the assailants were Romani. His mother also ended up in the hospital after a blow to the head.

The attack is said to have take place near the Sport residential hotel, which was the target of many of last summer's marches against local Romani residents. Police are searching for the perpetrators and do not believe the attack was racially motivated. "Police are investigating the incident as one of misdemeanor rioting," Děčín Police spokesperson Vojtěch Haňka said.

Many demonstrations over coexistence with the Romani minority took place in the town in the Šluknov foothills starting last August. The active protests by long-term residents were provoked by news of the Rumburk brawl, which the media reported as having been an attack committed by 20 Romani people against a smaller group of ethnic Czechs.

Last month, however, news server Aktuálně.cz reported more detailed, precise information from the investigation into the incident, which turns out to have most likely been a brawl between two local criminal gangs of drug dealers, not an ethnically motivated assault. "From the investigation conducted by Aktuálně.cz and from the police investigation it is evident that the incident was one of violence between two groups of residents from Rumburk and the surrounding area who were already known to one another, who had encountered one another more than once on the night of the brawl, and who mutually provoked one another," the news server reported.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Zdeněk Ryšavý, ryz, Czech Press Agency, Aktuálně.cz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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