Roma activist says minority needs its own party

A Roma activist has said the minority needs to establish its own party to influence developments in the regions. Čenek Ružička, chairman of the Romani Holocaust Compensation Committee, said he did not trust existing parties to defend Romany rights and argued that the situation would not improve until the Roma had their own representatives in local and national government. He said this would have to be done step by step, with the initial objective being to form a movement. The proposal comes amidst heightened tension between the majority population and the Roma minority in the north of the country where ethnic Czechs blame the Roma for a rise in crime and petty theft. Anti-Roma demonstrations have been taking place on a weekly basis.