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Prague Roma Pride march welcomes refugees

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Prague, Oct 4 (CTK) – About 50 people who took part in the Roma Pride 2015 march in Prague welcomed refugees in the country and called for the removal of a Czech pig farm built on the site of a former Romany internment camp Sunday.

Miroslav Broz, from the organising Konexe association, said refugees have recently replaced Romanies in the position of scapegoats of Czech society.

“We want to express our solidarity with them,” Broz said.

The event was co-organised by the Czech Helsinki Committee group and the Christian initiative Spolecne zit v miru (Live Together in Peace).

Roma Pride marches were organised by the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement (EGAM) in 13 European countries, from Dublin to Istanbul, as part of a campaign for the removal of pig farm from Lety, south Bohemia, Sunday. Konexe is a member of EGAM.

The marchers carried banners demanding a dignified remembrance of all Holocaust victims.

Broz said Czech politicians have been promising to remove the pig farm for 23 years and no reasonable person can trust their promises anymore.

“We want to attract international attention to the case and to the denial of the Romany Holocaust in the Czech Republic. To exert pressure on the Czech government so that it starts resolving this international scandal,” Broz said.

He recalled that more than 70 members of the European Parliament and national parliaments from 22 countries have recently signed an appeal for the pig farm’s removal.

In its Romany strategy until 2020, the Czech government pledged to remove the pig farm from Lety. However, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said last year his government is not likely to find money to buy the pig farm, which is exactly what the previous governments had said.

The originally labour and disciplinary camp in Lety was turned into a Gipsy one by the Nazis in August 1941. A total of 1308 Romanies passed through it until May 1943 and 327 of them died there. Another 500 were transferred to Oswiecim (Auschwitz) where most of them were murdered.

Some 600 Romany prisoners returned from Nazi concentration camps after the war. It is estimated that the Nazis killed 90 percent Czech Romanies. A place of remembrance was opened in Lety in 2010.

According to estimates, 250,000 ethnic Romanies live in the Czech Republic that has 10.5 million inhabitants. One third of them live in poor ghettos and the number of these ghettos doubled over the past eight years.

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