- Hans Weber
- December 1, 2023
Czech Police investigate conflict between unidentified adult male and three Romani minors, Romani community claims “Ukrainians” are committing armed assaults against them
In early February, a conflict took place between a non-Romani adult male and three Romani boys in the Dubice Municipal Department in Česká Lípa, Czech Republic. Since then, the local police have been investigating the incident. Facebook users from the Romani community claimed that “Ukrainians” have been threatening the residents of a particular building, but local officers have said that they consider the claims speculative as to the man’s identity.
Romani community member Miroslav Tancoš initially posted on Facebook that a group of Ukrainians was walking around Česká Lípa with knives and chasing Romani youth. The post was shared by other Romani men and women, often accompanied by racist and vulgar abuse against citizens of Ukraine. Tancoš later deleted the post, but it had already spread across social media.
The police have confirmed that an incident did occur in Česká Lípa between 9 and 12 February. They received an increased number of calls from inhabitants of a residence in the Dubice department of Česká Lípa, known among locals as “Parliament.” The calls were preceded by an argument between two male minors and an unidentified adult male on Hrnčířská Street in the center of Česká Lípa on the evening of 9 February. An older friend of the boys ran to their aid, and the man, who they say spoke Czech, demonstratively showed them a knife and then fled without causing any harm. The youths then called the emergency number, 158.
The police immediately sent two vehicular patrols with a service dog to the scene but did not find the man in the locality despite deploying the service dog. According to the police spokesperson Ivana Baláková, one of the youths literally said when describing the man that he could have been a Ukrainian. The boys involved in the incident have ties to the above-mentioned residence in Dubice, and police received seven emergency calls from there through Sunday about the alleged movements of a man with a knife near the building, with two of the calls alleging the man was Ukrainian. However, the police did not find any illegal behavior at the scene despite responding to all of the calls.
Some Romani people have been calling for the creation of Romani militias through social media, alleging that the police are not investigating the incidents. These social media users clearly believe citizens of Ukraine have been the alleged assailants. However, the police have stated that the allegations that inhabitants of that building are being threatened by Ukrainians are just speculations unverified by any provable facts. Given that negative emotions are spreading among those living in the building in question, the police have increased their attention to the situation in the Dubice locality by beefing up their patrol services and meeting for consultations with the crime prevention assistants to the local police, who have good personal knowledge of the building residents and their problems.
In conclusion, while an incident did occur in Česká Lípa, the claims that Ukrainians have been threatening the residents of a particular building remain speculative and unverified by any provable facts. The police have increased their attention to the situation and are working to prevent further incidents. However, the calls for the creation of Romani militias through social media and the spread of racist and vulgar abuse against citizens of Ukraine demonstrate the need for greater understanding and communication between communities in the area.
Article by Prague Forum