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May 26th, 1998

Racist tensions here in the Czech Republic have hit the headlines once more, after a police officer in the town was attacked allegedly by a group of Romanies.

According to information released by the Police, the incident took place at around 6 o'clock last Sunday evening, as the 27 year old Police Inspector was making his way to work in the Northern Bohemian town of Liberec.

The officer is understood to have confronted a group of five Romany men after the they had apparently shouted disparaging racist remarks. A brief fight ensued, resulting in the policeman receiving a fracture to his cranial bone. According to the information, after showing his police identity card to the Romanies, he then received two further blows to the face.

The attackers were later arrested by police, and have been charged with assault. What is yet to be ascertained is whether the attack will be treated as racially motivated. One of the Romany men is alleged to have called the officer 'a white pig' prior to the attack.

Speaking in Prague, Government minister and chairmen of the Council for Nationalities, Vladimir Mlynár, would not be drawn upon the matter, stating only that the accused, regardless of which ethnic group they be from, would be judged by the same yardstick.

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