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Czech Republic: Romani activist calls on Mayor of Žatec to resign

1.11.2016 12:46
Robert Tonelli at the event in Žatec, Czech Republic to mourn the death of a young Romani man there in October 2016 under circumstances that were not yet fully explained. (PHOTO:  Personal archive of Robert Tonelli).
Robert Tonelli at the event in Žatec, Czech Republic to mourn the death of a young Romani man there in October 2016 under circumstances that were not yet fully explained. (PHOTO: Personal archive of Robert Tonelli).

Romani activist Robert Tonelli has sent an open letter to the Mayor of Žatec, Zdeňka Hamousová. The activist is calling on her to resign from her post because of what she said during the appearance she made at last week's event commemorating the young Romani man who died there in on 18 October.

Open Letter to the Mayor of Žatec

Dear Madame Mayor,

Permit me to follow up on our personal contact from 27 October 2016, when we met at the commemoration of the deceased Miroslav Demeter, who was most likely killed there. On 31 October 2016, news server www.romea.cz published details of video footage taken of that fateful night that reveal the entire tragic event.

I believe that nobody will question the fact of this evidentiary material. I want to believe that you, too, as a person who acts within the framework of the structures of the public and state administration, and who therefore represents a certain degree of state power, will also not question it.

In the speech you gave on the square in Žatec on 27 October, you said the following: "I believe it is serious to state here that a young life has ended, but not as a consequence of third-party intervention." It was, at a minimum, inappropriate of you to say that on this occasion, and from the ethical and moral points of view it was extremely low.

Madame Mayor, I am calling upon you to apologize to the family of the deceased, to all of the bereaved, and to Romani people in general for the words you said at the commemorative assembly on 27 October 2016. By pronouncing those words, you placed yourself in the role of judge and pronounced a deadly verdict that was not well-supported by either arguments or facts.

I am asking that you not ride the current wave of populism, and that you not take the Romani nation hostage in order to achieve the aims of your career in politics. You should acknowledge your responsibility and resign.

The citizens of the town of Žatec are quite alarmed and outraged right now. I believe you will apologize and take the necessary steps to stabilize your town.

Sincerely,

Bc. Robert Tonelli

redakce, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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otevřený dopis, Žatec, Životní tragédie, action



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