March through Czech town puts Roma community in fear

by Michael Smith

Just two days before the so-called “International Roma Day” (amazing that the Sinti are being left out again) far-right groups organized a march through the Roma-populated area in the Czech Republic.

Days before the rally, the organizations were calling through their websites on members and sympathizers to join the march against what they termed “Gypsy terrorism”, and referring to “Gypsy ethnicity” as “parasitic”.

The rally started with around 500 far-right demonstrators who had come from different cities of the Czech Republic. The route of the march was through the Roma neighborhood, where the demonstrators stopped a few times and chanted “Czechs come with us” as well as anti-Roma statements.

Some inhabitants of the town, who were not organized with the far-right groups, joined the rally as it marched through the streets of the town. Not very surprising this, however, knowing the sentiments of the general Czech population the majority of who would not wish to have Gypsies live in their neighborhood nor go to the same schools as their children nor work alongside them.

A few days before the International Roma Day, the Romani community of the town had to spend the day locked in their houses fearing for the security of their children instead of preparing for the celebration of the day.

"We are scared for our own life," said a Romani woman who has lived in the area for 16 years. I lived for 26 years together with the majority population and lived in harmony, before I moved to this part of town. At the beginning, the Roma and the majority population used to live integrated; now this part of town is 100% Romani."

Another woman added, “How do I explain to my children why they can’t go out to play on such a nice day?”

Around 700 law enforcement officials, including anti-conflict unit and riot police, were present and ready to intervene in case the situation escalated. A high concentration of police took position around the Roma neighborhood in order to prevent violence and direct attacks against the Romani community.

Around twenty counter-demonstrators were pushed back by the police in order not to clash with the far-right demonstrators. However, as the rally proceeded, the far-right demonstrators attacked the counter-demonstrators. The quick intervention by the police calmed down the situation and the rally continued its route.

At 3pm, the rally was officially closed at the train station, but violence broke out as far-right demonstrators attacked the riot police and mounted police with stones, petrol bombs, and firecrackers. The violence spread into the surrounding streets.

By that stage, the police had completely blocked the Roma-populated neighborhood with tanks, police vans and riot police, which ensured the safety of the community.

But the devious mind here might ask as to whether that high presence of police and the tanks were there to prevent the Gypsies from actually showing the Nazis where to get off? Remember that the 20 counter demonstrators were pushed back in order to allow the Nazi march to continue unencumbered.

The rally was originally called by the far-right Czech Worker’s party, which later distanced itself from it, but the organization of the rally was taken over by the far-right organizations Movement of Autonomous Nationalists and National Resistance.

What we are seeing here, in the same way as in Italy, Hungary, Romania and even Germany and Britain, is Anti-Gypsyism and if we, the Rom, were Jews this would not be allowed to happen and rightly so. But we are but seen as “Dirty Gyppos” by all and especially also the authorities and therefore those things are allowed to continue.

It is time that the People were prepared, methinks, to stand up and protect themselves. Jews have decided to do just that some while back and it seems to be working.

Mind you, then again: if we, the Rom, do that we will be considered the criminals and not those that actually are the perpetrator of the violence and hatred. So kerena?

© M Smith (Veshengro), 2009