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Czech Republic: Most view events in Šluknov district as a society-wide problem

Prague, 12.11.2011 17:53, (ROMEA)

A poll conducted in October by the Center for Public Opinion Research (Centrum pro výzkum veřejného mínění -CVVM) reports that nine out of 10 people interviewed consider the current problems in the Šluknov district to be a serious problem of that region. Four-fifths of all respondents view the exacerbated situation between the majority society and the Romani minority as a serious problem for all of Czech society. Not quite one-third of respondents also said the unrest in the north of Bohemia is a problem for them personally. Respondents gave positive evaluations of the actions taken by mayors, municipalities and police, but negative marks to the actions of the Czech Government, regional authorities, socially excluded residents and the ultra-right. The poll was taken between 3 and 10 October and involved 1 052 respondents.

Since August, many demonstrations have taken place in towns throughout the Šluknov foothills in response to problems in coexistence with members of the Romani minority. Crime has risen in the region and many locals who no longer feel safe there are linking the situation to the arrival of new Romani residents in the region. Ultra-right extremist movements have also been exploiting the unrest for publicity. At the end of August, state police reinforced their deployments to the area with an increase of 50 special forces members. Last Tuesday, Czech Interior Minister Jan Kubice visited the Šluknov district and said a new special forces unit created for the area on 1 November will take over from the officers currently deployed within six months to a year from now.

A total of 91 % of those participating in the poll evaluated the situation in the Šluknov district as a serious problem for the region as a whole, while two-thirds labeled the problem as very serious. The current state of affairs is perceived as a problem for all of Czech society by 83 % of respondents.

One-third of respondents labeled events in the region as a problem for them personally, most often residents of the Karlovy Vary, Liberec and Ústí regions. On the other hand, one-fifth of respondents said they did not consider the unrest in Šluknov district to represent a problem for them personally.

Respondents gave particularly high marks to the police for their response to events in the region, with one-half expressing appreciation. A total of 43 % of respondents expressed satisfaction with the work of mayors and municipalities. On the other hand, half of those interviewed reported dissatisfaction with the activities of regional authorities and representatives, while two-thirds expressed dissatisfaction with the work of the Czech Government.

A total of 58 % of respondents gave positive evaluations to the activities of the majority-society residents in the area concerned, while 74 % have a negative perception of the activities of socially-excluded residents there. Dissatisfaction with the actions of ultra-right organizations was expressed by 48 % of respondents, but more than one-third of respondents said they were unable to evaluate their activity.

The activities of Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner Monika Šimůnková and the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion in Roma Localities were predominantly given negative evaluations, although a large proportion of people also admitted they did not have a particular opinion about either. Almost half also said they are unable to evaluate the work of nonprofit organizations on the issue. A total of 41 % of respondents were dissatisfied with the work of the media, while 37 % had a positive view of it.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Press Agency, jr, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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