Czech town issues ban to keep order, local Roma protest

Roma from Krupka Monday criticised a newly issued decree, under which people must not sit on the grass or steps in some parts of the small Czech town, and they want to stage a protest against the ban on September 5.

„Benches were removed from our housing estate and our kids have nowhere to play, they have no playground. There was money only for a camera system to monitor us,“ said Josef Miker, one of the local Roma who plan to organise the protest.

„We believe it is an attempt to drive Roma from the streets or make life difficult for them and make them leave Krupka,“ Miker said.

The decree bans people from bringing tables, benches and chairs as well as barbecues to the streets and parks-like areas of the town’s central square and its two housing estates.

It was approved in late June to keep the town calm and tidy.

Krupka Mayor Zdenek Matous said the decree was issued because locals complained about loud music and fires made in public areas. He added that Roma were among those who filed the complaints.

„None of the decent people should mind the decree,“ Matous said.

Krupka has become known due to suspected vote buying in the 2010 municipal elections. The elections were abolished twice as a number of poor locals, mostly Roma, were paid for casting their votes and supporting a given political alliance. Some critics of the elections then indicated that Matous was behind the corruption.

Only the third elections held last autumn were successful. Matous defended his post in them.

Far-right groups repeatedly organised marches and meetings criticising Romani crime in Krupka.

In spring 2011 the police dispersed a Romani crowd that wanted to block the way for an extremist march heading to their housing estate. The extremists then highlighted a case of an underage boy beat up and raped by two Romani youths in the area two years ago.

Source: Prague Daily Monitor
Date: 14.08.2012