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Petr Torák, MBE, refused restaurant service in Czech capital because he is Romani - interview will broadcast in Czech at 20:00 CET

13.6.2022 18:49
Tomáš Bystrý (left) and Petr Torák (right) (PHOTO: ROMEA TV)
Tomáš Bystrý (left) and Petr Torák (right) (PHOTO: ROMEA TV)

He left Liberec for Britain more than twenty years ago due to racism. He became a police officer there, Queen Elizabeth II herself praised him for his work, and since last year he has been an Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic in England. 

Even so, during a recent visit to Prague, Petr Torák encountered once again the treatment that prompted him to leave his homeland two decades ago. He claims he was refused service at a restaurant in the center of the metropolis.

"What more can one do to prove one is equal? All our lives we've been taught to act decently, to speak grammatically, to get a good job ... and even when one does, it's still not enough for some people," Torák posted to his Facebook profile about the unpleasant experience from the beginning of June.

"I waited in that restaurant for about a half an hour before they served me. I noticed that people who came later than me already had their food on their table while I still didn't even have a menu, or water. The waiter's approach convinced me that he did not want to serve me because I am Romani," Torák said in an interview with ROMEA TV

Reportedly he wrote an e-mail to the restaurant describing the entire unpleasant experience. In that message, he also asked the restaurant to hold the waiter accountable for his behavior.

"So far I haven't received an answer, though," Torák told ROMEA TV. The Extra.cz news server, which is a tabloid, has also reported on the incident, but the company managing the restaurant did not answer their written questions.
 
Their reporters then went right to the restaurant for a response. "I don't even want to comment on that, I'm not the owner of the company. I don't agree with such actions - if it happened, then of course it was wrong. If he really wasn't served then it doesn't matter if he was black, green, or white, it shouldn't matter," Extra.cz quoted an unidentified restaurant employee as saying whom they identified as in charge of daily operations at the restaurant. 

Restaurant Švejk rejects the allegations of racism, however. Torák said he is not considering any legal action against the restaurant yet and does not plan to turn to the police or, for example, to the Czech Trade Inspection Authority because of the incident. 

At the same time, however, the former police officer added that he wants to point out the ever-increasing number of such cases happening to Romani people in the Czech Republic in everyday life. "We need to point the finger at such businesses, not just those in the hospitality industry, but also real estate agencies and employment agencies where such unfair practices against the Roma also take place," he told ROMEA TV.

brf, bys, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Discrimination, human rights, Prague, Racism



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