Out-of-town youth assault Romani child and then other Roma in Sokolov - Czech Police defused the conflict and are investigating, local Roma not happy with their response
In Sokolov, Czech Republic, a group of aggressive young out-of-town visitors assaulted local Romani people on Friday 23 July. Czech Police responded immediately.
The aggressors were not local residents, but had traveled from Prague to Sokolov to go boating; they first attacked a Romani child and then other Romani people. More than one Czech Police unit responded to the incident.
Police brought dogs with them as part of their response. The first news of the conflict appeared on social media in the early evening, when several people broadcast live from the local sports hall, where police had set up a cordon to separate the two sides.
One Romani man who said he had been assaulted broadcast live on social media from the hospital that night and described the assailants as having behaved problematically from the moment they arrived. They are said to have urinated in public and attacked any Romani people the moment they saw them.
In that video, the injured man shows several other people who were injured or were being treated at the hospital and then describes the intervention by police, which many Romani locals believe was not adequate, alleging that protecting the aggressors was its main purpose. Local Roma allege the attackers were just briefly interrogated and then released.
Several minutes after their release, the out-of-towners are said to have beaten up a 14-year-old Romani boy. Police say they defused the conflict by having so many officers intervene.
"Fortunately no serious injuries happened during the altercation. Officers are intensively investigating the incident. Criminal proceedings have been opened on suspicion of committing rioting," Jakub Kopřiva, spokesperson for the Czech Police in the Sokolov area, told news server Romea.cz, adding that all those involved in the conflict will be interrogated and if more serious injuries are discovered, the entire matter may be reclassified as a crime requiring stricter sentencing.
News server Romea.cz has been informed that a Romani woman suffered a broken arm after one of the out-of-town assailants kicked her. The entire conflict has been described through a Facebook video by somebody claiming to have been an eyewitness, Emil Karička.
Karička describes the boaters' attack on the first Romani child whom they found and shows what he says are blood stains on the asphalt from that incident. He then describes the boaters assaulting other Roma.
"They were saying 'Black swine, we'll kill you, we'll send you to the gas chambers'," Karička alleges in his video. Police say they began interrogating eyewitnesses and suspects immediately after the conflict and were continuing their investigation yesterday.
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