Roma Pride 2014 in Prague, Terne Čhave perform
Prague has hosted yet another Roma Pride parade. Along with Romani people, rather a lot of people from the majority part of society, migrants living in the Czech Republic and tourists enjoyed the event as well.
Almost 300 people walked from the Old Town Square across the Charles Bridge to the Church of the Infant of Prague, where they prayed together for good coexistence and reconciliation. Romani people from many towns across the country attended, with the Brno contingent running a Roma Pride stand.
The event began with a program on the Old Town Square where the main musical attraction was the Hradec Králové band Terne Čhave and an Indian temple dance. People clapped, danced and sang along to the rhythmic Romani music.
The stage, decorated with flowers and signs reading "Hate is No Solution" and "Roma Pride", also was home to the reggae music of Michal Šepse. During the Terne Čhave concert more than 500 people were in attendance, but only around 300 participated in the march.
Ivanka Mariposa Čonková of the convening organization Konexe greeted the participants, as did Božena Fílová, the coordinator of Romani advisors in Prague, Margita Rácová from Brno, and Jožka Miker from Krupka. "We are here together, blacks, whites, and that's how it should be," the speeches between the musical performances emphasized.
Romani representatives thanked those present for showing through their attendance they will not tolerate for any form of racism. "Until the pig farm erected on the site of the Romani Holocaust is removed there will be no tolerance in this country. First get rid of that pig farm and then you can talk about 'inadaptables'," Miker said in his remarks.
The event focuses on Romani people sharing a feeling of pride in their identity and on being open to people from the majority society. It celebrates Romani culture and identity and does its best to draw the public's attention to topics such as the existence of the industrial pig farm on the site of the former concentration camp for Roma at Lety by Písek.
Roma Pride marches are taking place this weekend in 15 European countries. In Prague the parade was led by a horse-drawn wagon carrying musicians from Terne Čhave and singer Veronika Kačová who sang Romani folk songs the whole time. Romani youth marching in the parade shouted slogans like "Black, White, Together We Fight" and "Stop Racism".
Romani marchers also called out "Gadje, come with us!" to bystanders, some of whom actually did join the march, clapping and dancing to the Romani rhythms. People were carrying Romani flags and banners reading "Black, White, Together We Fight", "Strength in Unity", "Roma Pride", "Stop Ghettos", and "We Want Schools for All".
According to Ivanka Mariposa Čonková, the main motto of Roma Pride is "Towns without Racism and Schools for All Children". She also said Romani people want to be part of Czech society.
"All of Europe can see that antigypsyism in the Czech Republic is a problem. There is a need to stop segregating people," she said.
The activist believes it is necessary to work on getting the majority society to open up to Romani people. "We are proud Romani people who have our place in the Czech Republic," she said.
Saturday's program ended with with a workshop on traditional Romani dance and song and a discussion with Paul Polansky and his guests regarding the genocide at Lety. What was originally a disciplinary labor camp at Lety was transformed by the Nazi Protectorate administration into a "gypsy camp" in 1942, through which 1 308 Romani people had passed by May of the following year, 327 of whom perished there and more than 500 of whom were transported to Auschwitz, where most of them were murdered.
Survivors of the camp and their relatives are insisting the pig farm be removed, and its existence has reportedly been criticized by the UN and other intergovernmental institutions. The Czech Government, however, claims to have no money to purchase and remove the agricultural campus.
This evening, at the Podnik club in the Bubenská quarter of Prague, traditional Romani music will be performed, the Romani dance ensembles Cikne Čhave and Gypsy Kubo will perform, and the young political hip hop and dance group De La Negra from Krupka will perform. At 22:30 a program called Romano Jam - Musicians of the World, Unite! will begin, culminating at midnight with an item called "Anyone Can DJ".
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