Interior minister: Czechia not “less safe” because of foreigners

Photo: Kateřina Šulová, ČTK

Czech politicians have moved to quell anti-Ukrainian sentiment in the wake of two violent attacks against Czech women, which were reportedly committed by Ukrainian youths. President Pavel has warned against applying the principle of collective guilt and Interior Minister Vít Rakušan has assured the public that the growing number of foreigners in Czechia is not a security threat.

Last week police in Plzeň charged an 18-year-old youth with the rape and attempted murder of a 15-year-old girl. Although they did not disclose the nationality of the foreigner who committed the attack, reports on social media said he was Ukrainian. The wave of anger over the brutal attack on a teenager was further fueled by information on social media that the 16-year-old youth who had attacked and raped a woman in Prague’s Hostivař that same week was also Ukrainian. Although the police did not confirm the nationality of either culprit, the information spread like wildfire, re-igniting hate sentiments particularly among Czech Roma who are still up in arms over recent incidents in Brno, where a Romany man died, and in Pardubice, where a Roma was injured reportedly in conflicts with Ukrainians. Some of them claim that “gangs of Ukrainian youths” are roaming the streets and threatening the safety of Czech citizens.

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Author: Daniela Lazarová