Monday, September 26, 2011

the Roma in the Czech republic

Jindich Nestler wouldn't call himself a racist. "The good gypsies can stay," he says. "But most of them are lazy or criminals or even terrorists. They have to disappear."

Nestler is a 36-year-old official of the far-right "Workers' Party for Social Justice," or DSSS, by its Czech initials. DSSS is a successor party to the neo-Nazi group Dlnická Strana (DS), which was banned a year and a half ago by the highest Czech administrative court. One reason the court gave for the ban was that Dlnická Strana organized rallies that led to pogrom-like riots against the Roma.

Around 250,000 Roma live among 10 million Czechs. There are 300 slums around the country. Several can be found in big-city centers. Real-estate companies pay the Roma -- or offer to forgive their debts -- if they abandon potentially lucrative buildings in city centers and move to remote regions near the German border. The companies even bring them to specific abandoned houses, then charge high rents -- or even claim welfare subsidies directly from the state.

Some homeowners "exploit" the Roma, says Martin Šimáek, director of a state agency for social integration. Real-estate speculators charge them unprecedented, sky-high rents and excessive rates for water and power, he says. "This leads to unrest and creates problems for coexistence throughout the entire town," Šimáek told a Czech radio station.,1518,786495,00.html#ref=nlint

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