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Patrik Banga: Romani people will actively defend themselves against racist attacks in Czech Republic

Prague, 8.3.2012 17:55, (ROMEA)
Patrik Banga speaking on Czech Television (PHOTO: repro Česká televize)

Speaking on Czech Television's "News and Commentary" ("Události, komentáře") program, Patrik Banga said he does not believe any large-scale conflicts between ethnic Czechs and Romani people are on the horizon, but he did not rule out the possibility that local clashes could occur during neo-Nazi marches in places where a larger number of Romani people live. He said Romani people are not going to flee conflict anymore, but will actively defend themselves. Banga was responding to a recent study on trends in the neo-Nazi movement which warned of the possibility of local wars between ethnically-identified gangs. The program can be viewed in full here (in Czech only): http://www.ceskatelevize.cz/porady/1096898594-udalosti-komentare/212411000370301/video/192648

"We are not in America, the conditions in Bohemia are a little bit different than they are in the United States. Nonetheless, I did speak today with Radek Horváth of the Counseling Center for Citizenship and we discussed the fact that North Bohemian Romani people are saying it won't be long before they [...] will stop emigrating to Canada or Britain and start actively defending themselves," Banga said on the program.

Banga said there is no risk of street wars like the ones depicted in American films, but that local clashes could occur when neo-Nazis hold marches or other provocations. "If the Romani people unite and actively defend themselves somehow, then naturally conflict might occur, there might be a brawl, but it would just be in response to that particular emergency," said Banga. He went on to point out that Romani people have the feeling that no one in the country is standing up for them.

"We see in practice that the police intervene against these events to keep both sides away from one another, but we also see that the police do not do what they should," Banga said. He drew particular attention to the case of a Romani man who was beaten up after a march by racists from the Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) in Nový Bydžov. "There were 13 people charged, but no one was convicted. There is no clear indication that the police will not allow Nazism and racism in Bohemia," Banga said.

Banga also reminded viewers that only two of the many arson attacks on Romani families have been fully investigated. "We know of roughly eight arson attacks that have taken place here, and we know that only two of them have been fully investigated. I don't have any information about other incidents, but eight seems like enough to me," Banga said.

Gwendolyn Albert, Zdeněk Ryšavý, ryz, Czech Television, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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