Last Friday a group of Czech right-wing extremists attacked some Romani people in the older section of Havířov’s Šumbark neighborhood - and were then driven out with the help of other locals. The incident took place in Jarošova street and was brought to an end by police. It was far from the first such violent assault on the impoverished Šumbark residents. Muggings and racist assaults in the locality were once the usual amusement of football hooligans, and the violent offenders seem to be reviving a tradition of earlier times.
According to both the Havířov and Karviná dailies, the incident was sparked when a group of right-wing extremists tried to attack a customer in the Bivoj restaurant, which is frequented mostly by Romani people. Witnesses say some of the assailants were radical fans of the Baník Ostrava football club who are also known to police officers and patrolmen from those circles. Last Friday the football hooligans were having a good time in another restaurant in Jarošova street. At around 23:00 approximately 20 of them set out on a “punitive expedition” to the nearby Bivoj.
News server iDnes.cz reports that the right-wing extremists started to provoke Romani people in the restaurant by cursing at them. The numbers of hooligans and Romani people present were reportedly equal at that time. Once the right-wing extremists started throwing beer glasses, cobblestones, and rocks, Romani residents rushed out of the surrounding buildings to assist the people under attack. In the end roughly 50 of them were involved.
The right-wing extremists fled. They were saved by the owner of a nearby industrial campus, who let them in and locked the chain-link fence behind them. “Even though the fence separated them, both groups kept attacking each other. Beer glasses, cobblestones and other objects flew over it,” said Zlatuše Viačková, a spokesperson for the Karviná police. Officers eventually brought the battle to a close by deploying riot units and dogs. Three people, one of them a police officer, ended up in the hands of doctors.
A 40-year-old long-term resident witnessed the events and is very disturbed by the situation. “What happened on Friday was out of control. The Baník skinheads attacked a Romani guy in the pub for no reason, and the others fled to call for help. In just a few minutes, about 100 Romani guys came out of the surrounding buildings to defend him with bars and sticks in their hands. The police had a very difficult time of it because the crowd was really worked up,” the man, who did not want to give his name, told Deník.cz.
“The case has been taken over by the detective services. That night some persons were taken to the district department to verify their identities. Now those persons are being summoned for the next steps in the process. The detectives are also investigating a possible racial subtext to the brawl,” Viačková said.
Jarošova street divides this particular part of the Šumbark neighborhood into two different worlds. On one side there are ordinary houses and a housing estate with apartment buildings in good repair. On the other side are the single-story buildings, once built to accommodate miners, in which the most impoverished people live. Many if not most of them are Romani.
Right-wing extremists used to engage in these “punitive expeditions” against Romani people here almost every Friday and Saturday until police arrested one of them for perpetrating a serious felony during a pogrom against Romani people in which racists beat a 16-year-old Romani boy almost to death. According to court records, three carloads of young men arrived in Jarošová street on 8 November 2008 just before midnight with the aim of assaulting random Romani passersby. Masked with balaclavas and hoodies, the youths jumped out of their cars and first attacked two Romani minors, J.H. and P.S. After a brief chase they threw J.H. to the ground, where they beat his entire body intensively with their fists and kicked him particularly in the head and legs. They also beat him with a metal spanner called a gola. Doctors said that J.H. only survived because he was provided with immediate medical aid. He suffers from the repercussions of his injuries to this day.
Most of the perpetrators of that assault were captured by police and tried. This may be one reason why violence against Romani people has occurred less frequently in Šumbark since then.
For years, the right-wing extremists’ home base has been the Gurmán restaurant and its adjacent gambling room in the upper part of Jarošova street. Romani people usually gather about 300 meters further down Jarošova street in the Bivoj discotheque and restaurant. Racists used to seek out Romani people leaving the Bivoj on weekdays in order to beat them up and mug them. On the weekends, the racists would march between the buildings in the Romani section of the neighborhood, shouting racist slogans and throwing various objects through windows, including rocks.
“It’s sometimes crazy what goes on here. If the cops won’t intervene, then they shouldn’t be surprised if we defend ourselves,” a 20-year-old Romani local told news server Romea.cz in 2009. When asked how often the violent thugs showed up in the neighborhood, his friend responded: “Sometimes several times a week. Larger marches, of about 30 - 40 Nazis, happen about once a month.”
A Czech lady standing a little way off from us nodded her head and added: “The audacity of those football rioters grows in proportion to how often the police officers leave them in peace. Recently the police let about 30 of those youths march through here. They were shouting racist slogans and the officers pretended nothing was going on.”
František Kostlán , Denik.cz, iDnes.cz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
- mescalero69 reblogged this from golden-zephyr
- selchieproductions likes this
- vixyish reblogged this from golden-zephyr
- yellowfeathersfall reblogged this from golden-zephyr and added:
- retrogradewaters reblogged this from golden-zephyr
- prochoi likes this
- gypsywaa reblogged this from golden-zephyr
- lettersfromtaiwan likes this
- unpoliceyourmind likes this
- themovedmind likes this
- class-struggle-anarchism reblogged this from philosophy-of-praxis and added:
- ljushuvudet reblogged this from aj-rromale
- nodamncatnodamncradle reblogged this from philosophy-of-praxis
- philosophy-of-praxis reblogged this from aj-rromale
- aj-rromale reblogged this from golden-zephyr
- sweetncruel reblogged this from golden-zephyr
- drishock reblogged this from golden-zephyr
- golden-zephyr posted this