Česky English Deutsch Francais
Police investigate latest attack against Romanies
06-04-2010 - Sarah Borufka
At the weekend, two Molotov cocktails (containing a liquid that is yet to be identified by the police) were thrown into the doorway of a block of flats inhabited by Romany families in the north Moravian town of Opava. The incident, which is being investigated as a threat to public safety, comes just a few weeks after a similar attack on a Romany family in Ostrava. Sarah Borufka reports.

Late on Saturday night, two bottles containing an unknown substance were thrown into the doorway of a block of flats inhabited by Romany families in Opava, north Moravia. The bottles failed to catch fire and didn’t cause any damage. The police are investigating the incident as a threat to public safety.

The house in Opava where the attack took place, photo: CTK A similar attack took place only three weeks ago, in the nearby city of Ostrava. Unknown perpetrators threw a Molotov cocktail into the room of a fourteen-year-old Romany girl who was woken by the noise and was able to extinguish the fire before it could spread.

Though nobody was injured in both recent cases, Czech Romanies says they feel at high risk from neo-Nazi violence. Last year, the worst arson attack on a Romany family in Vítkov shocked the country: the family’s two-year-old daughter Natálka suffered burns on eighty percent of her body. With the trial of the Vítkov attack perpetrators coming up in May, Kumar Vishwanathan, a social worker and Romany rights activist, is hoping for the court to send a clear signal.

Kumar Vishwanathan “I think it’s really necessary for the courts to make it clear that such brutal attacks with Molotov cocktails are not welcome in this country, that it is a grave crime and that it will be punished very severely. We are hoping that the court will send a clear signal and will be bold enough not to downplay the significance of this attack.”

Before last year’s highly publicized attack in Vítkov, arson attacks did not receive as much attention as they do now, says Mr. Vishwanathan.

“Such arson attacks have been happening here for the past ten years. I think there is a greater sensitivity to this issue now, both from the Roma community and the Czech public and institutions and the media. So what used to hardly be reported on in the past, because nobody was really injured, now it’s being dealt with and people are giving it the necessary attention and in the past, it used to be ignored or the victims themselves didn’t even report it. It’s a serious issue, especially in the northern Moravia region.”

Earlier this year the extremist far-right Workers’ Party was banned by the Supreme Administrative Court; many people believe this at least is a step in the right direction when it comes to combating such violence. Miroslav Brož is an expert on extremism.

Illustrative photo “I think with the dissolution of the Workers’ Party, the Czech state has demonstrated that it is willing to fight against extremism, and I’d rather use the word neo-Nazism to be precise, and that it does not have a place in our society. And I think that the development has been that to a certain extent, neo-Nazi activities have been on the decline. If you think back to late 2008 and early 2009, neo-Nazis held marches through Czech towns every weekend.”

Related articles
06.06.2018Study indicates ethnic hate is contagiousNews
08.12.2016Project aimed at fighting hate crime acquires fresh urgency in light of migrant crisisNews
14.11.2016Romany soccer team face hatred more or less all the time, says FC Roma co-director Tomáš BojarNews
08.02.2016Far-right focus on migrants taking heat of Roma at least for now, says Czechs Against Czechs maker Tomáš KratochvílNews
25.11.2014Social Democrat leadership up in arms over local government coalition with ultra-right partyNews
25.11.2014Political commentator Jiří Pehe: Duchcov coalition could seriously damage the Social DemocratsNews
08.09.2014Lukáš Houdek, a photographer, writer and curator tackling prejudices head-onNews
07.11.2013Intelligence service report: corruption and economic problems are fuelling extremismNews
12.09.2013Brochures for schools to help combat racial prejudice and extremismNews
All related articles
Format for printing
Send as e-mail

Also in section "News"
31.10.19  Roma children’s choir Chavorenge and members of the Czech Philharmonic to perform in UK
13.09.19  Archaeologists discover graves of Roma persecuted during WWII in Lety camp
02.06.19  Ida Kelarová and her Romany children’s choir Chavorenge
29.05.19  Two Roma activists to receive Charter 77’s František Kriegel Award
07.04.19  Romany music from the Czech Republic
13.03.19  Czech singer Věra Bílá, dubbed the Ella Fitzgerald of Gypsy music, dies days before her comeback tour
21.11.18  Roma social worker from Ostrava listed on BBC 100 Women list
12.10.18  Why are there so few Roma politicians?
17.09.18  Virtuoso pianist Tomáš Kačo: When I tell somebody I’m a Gypsy in the US, they’re excited about it
06.06.18  Study indicates ethnic hate is contagious
Archive of the section

Most popular articles
3153053   26.02.00 Some Basic Information about the Roma Population in the Czech Republic
290319   27.01.05 The 'Devouring': A look at the Romani Holocaust
184516   26.02.00 The History and Origin of the Roma
141463   26.02.02 The Language of the Roma
107706   13.06.00 The History of the Roma Minority in the Czech Republic
105260   26.02.00 The Traditional Family Life of the Czech Roma
103929   02.06.03 The Roma Holocaust
88238    World famous Roma Personalities
88174   21.02.04 Extreme right activists demonstrate for skinhead in jail
74801    Photographs by Romani Children
Copyright © Český rozhlas / Czech Radio, 1997-2023
Vinohradská 12, 120 99 Praha 2, Czech Republic