Česky English Deutsch Francais
June 2nd, 1998
In the north Bohemian town of Usti Nad Labem, a elegation of Czech Romanies handed a petition to city mayor Ladislav Hruska protesting against the planned construction of a wall which the local authorities want to build to separate a Romany community from other citizens. Radio Prague's Libor Kubik filed this report:

The Romanies have asked the local council members, who stood behind the decision, to resign immediately. They also said that they would ask law enforcement bodies to prosecute all those involved in the decision.

Usti nad Labem mayor Ladislav Hruska accepted the petition, but expressed doubt that the Romany leaders knew the situation in the location where the wall is to be erected.

Before presenting the text of a petition that has yet to be signed, a spokesman for the Association of Romanies in the Czech Republic, Josef Sivak, described the city fathers' decision as an insult to all Romany people.

"If we allow this here, other towns will follow suit and then you will have ghettos, followed by gas chambers, and that will be the end of the Romanies," he said.

But Usti's Mayor Ladislav Hruska begs to disagree. He thinks the wall is a reasonable way to protect the town's "decent inhabitants", as he put it. He said this wall was not meant to separate people, and denied any racial motivation.

The Usti plan, to divide a street with a wall up to four metres high, has added to controversy over the Czech Republic's treatment of its 300,000-strong Romany minority which was highlighted last year when hundreds of Gypsies sought asylum in Britain and Canada. Only a handful were granted the right to stay.

The Usti trouble started four years ago, when the local authority moved the Romanies into the tenements, opposite non-Gypsy families and the street's original residents began to complain to the town hall.

What most reports fail to mention is that these original residents are comprised of only two houses across the street, and that another two houses a hundred meters down the road include the local pub and grocery store on their ground floors. The fact that the city would spend 350 thousand crowns to protect four houses from seeing Romanies across the street, instead of addressing their social problems, such as the refusal of the Employment Office to assist trade school graduates in finding employment, gets to the heart of the problems between the Romany minority and the Czechs.

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, 1997-2022
Vinohradská 12, 120 99 Praha 2, Czech Republic