Czech Republic: Neo-Nazis will ignore ban on Saturday's march in Ostrava, resistance to them is rising
Neo-Nazis planned an assembly and march for Saturday, 24 August in the Czech town of Ostrava only to see it banned by local authorities. According to information being spread by the right-wing extremists on social networking sites, however, they intend to go ahead with their provocation there nonetheless.
A wave of resistance is rising to this march and locals are planning to protest against the neo-Nazis directly in the streets. News server Romea.cz publishes the invitation to Saturday's "Demonstration against racism and neo-Nazism" in full translation below.
Demonstration against racism and neo-Nazism and about Romani problems in Ostrava - 24 August
We, members of the majority society and the Romani community of Ostrava, do not want to sit at home while people outside are shouting "gypsies to the gas chambers". Through our upcoming demonstration and this press release, we want to express our common disagreement with the demonstrations and marches being organized by the neo-Nazis. In our opinion, the aim of such events is to spark unrest between the majority society and the minority, as well as to promote and publicize openly neo-Nazi, racist groups and political parties.
We Roma, just like the members of the majority society, share a common interest in the social security, dignity, and safety of our persons irrespective of our ethnic affiliations or origins. We are also convinced that every criminal act should be punished by law.
We see how ordinary people are starting to join the neo-Nazis and racists - not because they share a common interest, but because of the growing social insecurity in this country. We perceive these developments as the result of asocial policies, in particular those of the previous government, which was formed by a coalition of right-wing parties.
These neo-Nazi events are a financial burden on the taxpayers due to the need to massively deploy the police during them. Meanwhile, investment into education, social employment policy, and social housing is desperately lacking.
We Roma are not responsible for the state of the Czech political scene and the creation of the social insecurity that is influencing all of us, without exception. All of the problems in the Czech Republic are being attributed to minorities here.
We must systematically address these problems, our common situation, and what the future holds. We are therefore demanding a change in the approach taken to these problems by local municipalities and the thorough application of existing legislation so that it will no longer be possible to organize neo-Nazi, racist demonstrations and pogrom marches in the Czech Republic in future.
The recent decision by the České Budějovice town hall is an example, subsequently upheld by the court, of how to ban an announced neo-Nazi demonstration. We therefore call on members of the majority society not to join the neo-Nazi activities, as we see no solution to our common problems in them.
We are convinced that only this approach, not confrontation, can solve the problems that have accumulated. We Roma want to participate in resolving the social problems in our country, in particular the problems of crime, lack of housing, unemployment, and the untransparent management and misuse of EU funds and other subsidies drawn in the name of helping ethnic Roma.
We therefore call on our elected representatives, our senators, our politicians, and the chief magistrate and the mayors of the individual municipal departments in Ostrava to negotiate with us Roma, not veer off into negotiations that are "about us without us"! Through our demonstration in Ostrava on 24 August and through this press release we also want to express our solidarity with and support for demonstrations similar to ours that are being convened on that same day in other towns across the Czech Republic.
There is no place in a civilized society for neo-Nazism and racism!
On behalf of the organizers of the Ostrava demonstration,
Jolana Šmarhovyčová, press spokesperson
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