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President Pavel was not happy about Roma demonstration in Brno

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President Petr Pavel expressed his nuanced view regarding the gathering in Brno following the tragic death of a Romani man after an altercation involving a Ukrainian individual. Rather than categorizing the situation as entirely positive, he commended the Romea organization and Government Commissioner for Romani Minority Affairs, Lucie Fuková. Pavel shared these thoughts during an interview with CNN Prima News. Interior Minister Vít Rakušan (STAN) emphasized the importance of a thorough police investigation into the assault, free from external pressure, with the objective of holding the responsible party accountable. Statements targeting Ukrainians were made during the rally held in honor of the deceased Romani man on Saturday.

President Pavel stressed the significance of approaching the matter with a level-headed perspective, acknowledging that emotions were running high from all sides. He emphasized the need to unequivocally condemn any form of violence while also conducting a thorough investigation to establish the facts surrounding the incident. “There are certain circumstances suggesting that the situation is not black and white, and it is crucial to have a clear understanding,” he stated. “However, this does not diminish the fact that a killing or murder, depending on the final judgment, occurred, and there must be appropriate consequences, including punishment. This should be regardless of the parties involved,” he added.

The President underscored the importance of avoiding generalizations and refraining from turning the matter into a national or racial issue. He expressed reservations about the demonstration organized by the Romani community in Brno, stating that some of the statements made did not contribute positively to either the Romani community or an objective assessment of the situation. On the other hand, he praised the Romea organization and Government Commissioner Fuková for their approach during the assembly in Prague, emphasizing the realistic assessment of the situation and the avoidance of escalating tensions.

In a subsequent discussion on CNN Prima News, President Pavel stressed the need to demonstrate to the Czech public that the police are capable of protecting them from criminals. He emphasized the importance of holding the guilty parties accountable, regardless of their identity. He expressed confidence in the professionalism of the police officers. Labour and Social Affairs Minister Marian Jurečka (KDU-ČSL) added that politicians should refrain from exploiting the situation to fuel hatred in society. However, Deputy Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Klára Dostálová (ANO) expressed the opinion that the government’s response following the incident should have been swifter to prevent any perception of favoritism toward a particular group.

Last week on Saturday, a foreigner, apparently of Ukrainian nationality, stabbed two individuals prior to a fireworks display at the Ignis Brunensis festival near the Brno dam. A Romani youth tragically succumbed to his injuries in the hospital. The incident sparked outrage and led to anti-Ukrainian sentiments among some members of the Romani community. The suspect was apprehended by the police at the scene, and on Tuesday, the court ordered his custody.

This week on Saturday, approximately 1,000 people gathered in Brno’s city center, and the initially planned commemorative rally transformed into an anti-government demonstration. Some participants criticized the government’s handling of refugees escaping Russian aggression in Ukraine. Chants such as “We don’t want them here” were heard, and individuals called for the refugees to return to Ukraine and fight. Jozef Daniel, director of the Brno Team initiative, which organized the rally, rejected the notion of collective guilt.

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