PM links racial unrest to generous welfare policies

Aktualne.cz
19. 9. 2011 12:18
Czech PM Nečas met with local authorities in problematic area suffering from racial tensions
Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas
Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas | Foto: Ludvík Hradilek

Prague - Czech PM Petr Nečas (Civic Democratic Party) visited North Bohemia's Šluknov area, which has seen a series of racially-motivated incidents and massive anti-Roma protests in the last weeks. The PM spoke to the representatives of local municipal authorities and police about what can be done to solve the crisis.

During the meeting, PM Nečas said that the current racial tension in the Šluknov area is caused by generous welfare policies implemented by previous governments.

According to the PM, the changes in the welfare system his government plan to introduce by January 1, 2012 will help to solve the issue.

Since August this year, the Šluknov area has witnessed increasing racial tensions between the local white majority and Roma minority, with numerous violent incidents and anti-Roma demonstrations.

Nečas was accompanied by the center-right government's deputy for human rights Monika Šimůnková. The PM vised a bar in Nový Bor where a group of local Roma allegedly attacked bar-goers a few weeks ago.

Read more: Anti-Roma riots spread in Czech Republic raising fears
Read more: Situation gets critical in crime-ridden Czech town

The incident is believed to have started the ongoing tension, even though its underlying reasons are structural and long-term.

The last of the series of anti-Roma demonstrations took place last Saturday, when 400 people gathered in Varnsdorf. The protest took place after a public discussion organized by the local municipality in a local movie theater.

Several hundreds of angry local people expressed their discontent with what they call "lax" approach of the local municipal authorities and police.

Nečas also plans to visit one of the lodging houses inhabited by poor Roma in Varnsdorf.

The recent turmoil in the area, characterized by high unemployment, criminality, poverty, and economic underdevelopment, is serious above all in the light of recent riots in London and other English cities, linked to similar structural problems.

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