Violence erupts at Czech anti-Roma rally

By • on July 2, 2013

A weekend rally in a largely Roma neighborhood in the southern Czech city of Ceske Budejovice turned violent and forced the police to intervene, according to the Czech News Agency.

The violence erupted after the crowd that gathered 29 June at a public housing project inhabited mostly by Roma started shouting slogans such as “Czech lands to Czechs” and “black pigs.”

Police detained 39 demonstrators. Thirty-two are being investigated for misdemeanors, while seven could face charges of violence against an official, according to police spokeswoman Lenka Holicka.

Emergency services spokeswoman Petra Kafkova said 10 people were injured, including two who suffered concussions.

Ceske Budejovice Mayor Juraj Thoma said town officials could not have prevented the rally, as the law requires organizers only to report an upcoming event. Several hundred police officers were deployed and used tear gas against the protesters, according to the Czech News Agency.

One of the march organizers distanced the event from the violence, saying, “What is going on in the streets has nothing in common with our activity and we cannot influence it in any way.”

Despite several governmental and EU-funded integration programs in the years following the Czech Republic’s accession to the union, discrimination and violence against Roma are still rife in the country.