Yet another Czech town bans sitting outdoors
The Czech town of Duchcov has adopted a new ordinance that is intended to improve the upholding of public order there. The generally binding ordinance bans people from sitting on concrete barriers or walls and also bans them from grilling food in public areas.
Mayor of Duchcov Zbyněk Šimbera announced the new ordinance to the Czech News Agency. According to some critics, the ordinance targets Romani residents.
The ordinance precisely establishes the public places where people are not permitted to sit. It also bans them from placing armchairs in the streets.
"This ordinance should introduce order. I see no reason why people should have picnics and similar things in the streets. That's bad, nobody in any town would like that," the mayor told the Czech News Agency.
The ordinance will apply to a large portion of the town, including its troubled localities. "It can't apply to the entire territory, but we did our best to include as many streets as possible in it," the mayor explained.
Miroslav Brož of the Konexe movement believes the ordinance unequivocally targets local Roma. "Similar ordinances were adopted during the First Republic [1918-1938]. This is nothing new even today. My opinion is that such an ordinance is unconstitutional," he told the Czech News Agency.
Šimbera rejects that opinion. "The decree targets those who make a mess in public spaces, but it doesn't only apply to Roma. We consulted it with the Interior Ministry prior to adopting it and they said it is in order," the mayor said.
Municipal police will supervise the upholding of the ordinance and will be able to fine those who violate it. Similar ordinances apply in other towns in the Czech Republic as well.
The first town to adopt such an ordinance in 2010 was Litvínov, and similar ordinances have been adopted by Krupka (Teplice district) or Rotava (Sokolov district). Duchcov has been governed since last year's municipal elections by a coalition of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, the Czech Social Democratic Party, and the Workers' Social Justice Party, whose representatives have repeatedly convened anti-Romani marches there.
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