Česky English Deutsch Francais
Anti-Roma riots in České Budějovice point to extremist trend
01-07-2013 - Masha Volynsky
A small demonstration in the center of the biggest south Bohemian city, České Budějovice, on Saturday turned into an unruly xenophobic march to a neighborhood with a dense Roma population. It took many hours before the police, using smoke grenades and tear gas, were able to disperse hundreds of extremists who threw bottles and stones, lit up garbage containers, and chanted racist slogans. Thirty-nine people were detained.

Photo: CTK To understand the context of the situation, which comes just weeks after similar anti-Roma unrest in the north Bohemian town of Duchcov, I spoke to Miroslav Mareš, an expert on far-right extremism based at Brno’s Masaryk University, and asked him if this weekend’s events were any different from what we have seen in the past few year.

“I think the difference is mostly the location and the territorial spread of the ethnic riots from northern Bohemia to other parts of the Czech Republic. However, if we remember last year in Břeclav in Southern Moravia there were several similar riots to the ones now in České Budějovice. Maybe then we see that this type of ethnic riots, where the ‘normal’ citizens protest together with right-wing extremists, that’s nothing new in the Czech Republic. There is a stable progression [of these events], at least from [the riots] in Janov, in northern Bohemia, in 2008.”

So, why did the events of this weekend happen now? What could be the ‘bigger-picture’ cause for this?

Miroslav Mareš, photo: archive of Miroslav Mareš “This took place after the clash between a Roma family and ethnic Czech family, where one Czech woman was attacked by a Roma woman. So, this was the starting incident. However, we can see similar tensions in many so-called socially excluded localities around the Czech Republic. So, yesterday it was in České Budějovice, however next week it could be in Jihlava, or northern Bohemia or Přerov, for example.”

So, you are saying that this is part of a bigger trend?

“Yes, I think this is not connected only to the situation in České Budějovice. It is connected with rising ethnic tensions in the whole of the Czech Republic.”

Is this in any way connected to the economic situation right now, or does the extremism that accompanies these kinds of riots have roots in something completely different?

“I think there are many factors. Of course, the economic situation is one of them, however also the discontent with Roma crime and delinquency, as well as this subjective feeling of insecurity is a very important issue in this whole radicalization.”

And in terms of the influence that extremists have on the society as a whole…You said that there is a trend where non-extremists getting involved in these riots. Does this mean that these extremist movements will gain more popularity as time goes on?

Photo: CTK “There is no strong right-wing extremist party in the Czech Republic. The Workers’ Party of Social Justice, which is the most important representative of the extreme right, is very weak. They only had one person running in the last election. So, this could potentially be a reason for the rise of a new populist movement. On the other hand, there are more important factors for electoral behavior in the Czech Republic, which are mostly in the socio-economic sphere, and it is mostly the dissatisfaction with established politics. Don’t forget, we now have a governmental crisis, we have many scandals involving governing parties and so on.”

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
20.11.2013Ministry aims to employ 1,000 new officers in troubled areasNews
07.11.2013Intelligence service report: corruption and economic problems are fuelling 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