Czech Republic: More police to patrol Máj housing estate
The number of municipal and state police deployed to the Máj housing estate in České Budějovice, home to a large Romani community, will be increased after last Saturday's attempt at a pogrom there. Mayor Juraj Thoma (Citizens for Budějovice - OPB) informed journalists of the increase after today's extraordinary session of the municipal council.
Tensions have predominated the locality of more than 20 000 residents since 21 June, when a conflict arose between children and then adults at a local playground. During last Saturday's attempted pogrom against the Romani inhabitants of the housing estate 10 people were injured.
"These immediate measures reinforcing the number of municipal police patrols should contribute to an enhanced feeling of security. In addition to motor patrols, there will be 12 foot patrols available non-stop instead of the current six. The state police will deploy their own foot patrols to the streets of the housing estate too," the mayor said after the meeting.
The town leadership is calling on all people living at the housing estate not to get involved in any street actions and not to support radical groups. On Tuesday, 9 July at 17:00 a meeting will be convened at at the Sports Hall to discuss the current situation at the housing estate, Thoma said.
Last Saturday's attempted pogrom, during which 10 people were injured in clashes between neo-Nazis and police, took place after several hundred participants in a properly announced assembly left it to make an unannounced march on the housing estate. The director of the South Bohemian Regional Police, Radomír Heřman, has said he considers the police response to have been successful.
Heřman believes police prevented physical contact between both groups of people. He also excused the neo-Nazis' shouting of the racist phrase "black swine", insisting that it referred to the police officers, not the Romani residents.
Police arrested 40 people during the attempted pogrom but have not charged anyone yet. Detectives and experts on extremism are evaluating video footage of the event.
The number of persons suspected of illegal behavior may rise in the future. The estimated cost of the damages caused by the clashes has also not yet been announced.
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