Another attack on the Roma in Karviná, this time with an air rifle
Earlier this week, four assailants shot an air rifle at Roma in the town of Karviná, hitting a nine-year-old girl in the thigh, her mother in the arm, and their neighbor, an ethnic Czech man, in the collarbone. The man was not meant to be a target of the attack but was hit accidentally when the Romani woman managed to evade one of the shots.
Similar attacks on the Roma occur almost daily in Karviná and in the surrounding region of northern Moravia and Silesia. As Romea.cz has previously reported, local police ignore the vast majority of such attacks there, either failing to initiate investigations or quickly shelving the few investigations that are opened.
“My daughter was first shot in the leg, in her thigh to be precise. When I was talking with my neighbor outside, I felt the sting of another shot in my arm. I looked around and took two steps back – it was only because I moved that they didn’t get me a second time, but the gentleman with whom I was talking was hit. They got him just below the neck. If I had stayed put, I would have been hit in the eye or the temple. It was as if the assailant shot first before he was able to aim it where he wanted,” victim Jiřina Solčanová told Romea.cz. Her neighbor has confirmed her account.
The attack took place on Monday, 29 March in U svobodáren street, Karviná 6. According to Solčanová, there were a total of four assailants who were all either short-haired or bald. At least one of them was wearing a bomber jacket, clothing favored by right-wing skinheads. The victims called local police immediately after the incident. “When they came I pointed out the window from which the shots had come. A guy came out of there and started to abusively, vulgarly curse me, saying things like ‘You black swine’,” Solčanová said.
According to Ladislav Baláž of the Europe Roma CZ association, about 150 Roma gathered after the attack to defend the area against the shooters; police ended up protecting the assailants from the crowd. “The Roma say it is getting worse and worse in Karviná. There are many problems there which no one is focusing on – rather the opposite. The parents here are concerned for their children - they have to accompany them to school to make sure they arrive safely. They are concerned the worst will happen in Karviná,” Baláž said.
Solčanová said another incident had taken place in her building recently: “One of the neighbors who hates Gypsies shot some sort of small bomb at my children – it had some kind of gas in it that the children choked on after inhaling it.”
As Romea.cz has reported previously, attacks on the Roma are a common, everyday occurrence in Karviná. For example, at the Roma settlement called Vagónka, local people including children are regularly attacked. The assailants throw potatoes studded with broken glass at them, rocks, mustard jars. They shoot paintballs at them. They also throw rocks through the windows of Roma-occupied apartments. After initially reporting the attacks to the police, most of the victims are never again asked to give testimony. For incidents which the police have investigated, the cases were closed after a few days, with no results. Solčanová confirmed the poor behavior of local police toward the Roma: “The cops take a despicable approach toward us. They behave toward us as if we were the ones shooting guns and the assailants were the victims.”
Local police refused to comment to Romea.cz and referred journalists to Karviná Police spokesperson Zlatuše Vjačková. She could not be reached for comment.
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