Fliers in Czech towns incite intolerance, spread rumors of "inadaptable Romani" influx
Over the past few days, fliers reporting the possibility that "as many as 500 inadaptable residents of Romani ethnicity will be moving" from North Bohemia into the town of Zábřeh (Šumperk district) have been distributed there. Several local people have already contacted the town hall for an explanation. The town leadership has resolutely denied that the information is true and has distanced itself from it, according to town hall spokesperson Daniel Gryc, who said similar fliers have also recently turned up in the towns of Loštice, Moravská Třebová, and other places in the Czech Republic.
"Several people came to the town hall because they found the fliers in their mailboxes or on their windshields. We are distancing ourselves from this information, we are not planning any such thing, and no one has turned to us with such an intention," Gryc said.
The flier claims the new arrivals would live in a dormitory near the public swimming pool. "There is a dormitory near the indoor pool that is not being used at present and we intend to renovate it in the future. However, it would serve, as it has in the past, for accommodating sports teams. Under no circumstances would inadaptable citizens use it," Gryc said.
The rumors spreading through town also claim other buildings might be used for the same purpose. According to Gryc, however, the town hall asked the private owners of the properties mentioned whether the rumors were true, and none of them confirmed any intention of putting their real estate to such use.
Renáta Köttnerová, the Regional Coordinator for National Minorities, said the distribution of the fliers is a dangerous activity that could increase tensions between members of various ethnic groups and incite racial intolerance. "I have contacted the Romani adviser in the town of Zábřeh and it is not likely there would be room for a larger number of new residents in the existing residential hotels," Köttnerová said, adding that she has also informed the Olomouc Police of the matter and requested that they investigate it fully.
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