Romani community turns death site in Czech town into a place of reverence
At the location where a young Romani man passed away in Teplice, Czech Republic on Saturday, a place of remembrance is being created by activists Jozef Miker and Štefan Pongo together with the Czechoslovak Romani Union. News server Romea.cz reported that the man died on 19 June after an intervention during which an officer knelt on the man's neck, as was captured on video filmed from the window of a nearby building.
"Štefan Pongo and I have met up here to set up this place of remembrance for the victim," Miker told news server Romea.cz at the scene. "They're saying he was on drugs, but other people are claiming that's not true."
"He was reportedly taking Tramal for enormous spinal pain," Miko told Romea.cz. "Each of us can probably imagine what might happen if somebody were to kneel on the neck of a person who had a spinal ailment," Miko said, calling on the Romani residents of Teplice to pay their respects at the scene of the tragedy.
Local Romani residents say they are afraid to comment on the incident because police have forbidden them to discuss it. According to police spokesperson Daniel Vítek, however, police have issued no such instruction to any residents.
"We have given no such order to anybody," he told news server Romea.cz. "If a person is a participant in a criminal proceeding, or testifies in a case, then by law that person is instructed that he or she should not disseminate any data that could, for example, make it possible to identify any of the other participants in the proceeding, etc."
"The police do not ban anything," Vítek told news server Romea.cz. Police have rejected the idea that the young Romani man died because of their intervention and have issued a statement to that effect that Romea.cz has published in full.
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