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Czech town exerting intensive efforts to solve Romany problems

Litvinov, 13.1.2009 21:23, (ROMEA)

The Litvinov Town Hall is exerting intensive efforts to solve the situation at the Janov housing estate inhabited mainly by Romanies where there are problems between old-time residents and socially unadaptable households, Litvinov Mayor Milan Stovicek told CTK today.

Stovicek (senior ruling Civic Democrats, ODS) was reacting to the accusation of a lax approach to the problem raised by Petr Kotab, deputy chairman of the far-right Workers' Party (DS) in a statement he sent to CTK.

The statement says the DS will send monitoring patrols to Janov on January 24.

Stovicek said the 's statement was not based on the truth because the town authorities had exerted intense efforts to improve the situation at Janov and that it continued to be their priority.

Local Romanies have protested against the DS's plan.

"It is nonsensical. We will try to defend ourselves to prevent the extremists from penetrating our housing estate. The DS should recognise that it is not entitled to monitor anything. If it failed to realise it, we would not sit with our hands folded," Radek Grunza, chairman of the Romany Christian Association, told CTK.

In October, Romanies prevented a group of extremists from marching through Janov. Taking revenge, the DS called a march through Litvinov on November 17 that developed into clashes with the police on the boarders of Janov.

The DS then announced that it would not organise any demonstrations and public rallies in Litvinov until January 15 and would wait for the town authorities' steps to resolve the situation at the Janov housing estate.

Kotab said he met people from Litvinov on Saturday. He said he would personally visit some local citizens who live in the most problematic places of the housing estate.

"Residents of Janov provided new information according to which the Town Hall's interest in solving problems with the local unadaptable group of the population is decreasing," he said.

Stovicek has rejected the allegation.

"We have prepared a new report on the situation at Janov and the councillors will discuss it on Wednesday. However, legislative changes for which we are waiting are the most important step," he said.

On Monday, the Czech government approved a proposal of the outgoing minister for human rights and minorities Dzamila Stehlikova (junior government Green Party, SZ) to extend the project of the government's Agency for Social Integration in Romany localities to include Litvinov's Janov housing estate.

According to an analysis of the situation at the housing estate drafted by the agency, socially weaker residents from various Czech regions have been moved to Janov.

There are many unemployed people at Janov who are not interested in education and who have problems with debts. Old-time residents are suffering difficulties and inconveniences because their houses are unsalable.

CTK
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Czech republic, Janov, Extremism, Neo-Nazism



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