Roma attack on teen, which brought thousands into the streets, never happened
Police in the South Moravian town of Břeclav have called off an investigation into three Roma who allegedly beat up a 15-year-old boy, in an incident that raised racial tensions around the country. The boy has confessed that the attack never took place, he injured himself in a fall, and the mass demonstrations that followed now look like just another sign of widespread prejudice against the Roma minority.
Luckily though, the police were more sceptical than the general public. This is what police investigator Luděk Blahák told a press conference:
“Today, a lie detector test was made to check the credibility of some of the witnesses. When the victim’s statement seemed untrustworthy, we proceeded to question him. In questioning the boy stated that the incident that he originally described had not occurred, that he had caused his injuries himself. He had injured himself by falling over an eighth storey railing that he was doing a gymnastic exercise on...”
“It was a very painful, personal experience for all of us. We were all considered collectively guilty, even though we had condemned the act. What the boy testified to was a brutal act, and we are also mothers and parents and had the same fears for our own children. But it was humiliating to go down the street to the shop and people would look at us as if we had done it.”
Meanwhile, on the same day as the boy’s confession, Amnesty International issued its human rights report for last year, which seemed to describe exactly the events of Břeclav last month. The organisation cites growing extremism, mounting tension between Roma and non-Roma, racist comments from local politicians, segregation in schools and a lack of interest on the part of the government to take any real steps towards resolving matters. This, like many of the many similar incidents of recent times, will likely be left to be resolved locally. Alena Gronzíková again:
The mother of Petr Zhyvachivsky has apologised and asked for a public apology to the Roma community. She also returned the 100,000 donation to singer Michal David with the suggestion that the money be given to a handicapped girl from the area.