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Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says he's worried about the safety of Czech citizens living in the UK.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says he's worried about the safety of Czech citizens living in the UK.
Image: Associated Press

Czech premier tells Britain to stop 'hateful attacks' on its citizens

“The Czech government finds it unacceptable to see Czechs attacked because of their origin and being treated as second-class citizens.”
Sep 30th 2016, 5:11 PM 16,171 63

THE CZECH PRIME minister has asked his British counterpart Theresa May to take action to stop what his government considers violence against Czechs in the wake of Britain’s decision to quit the European Union (EU), his office said today.

Czech leader Bohuslav Sobotka said Prague was “disturbed by the increase in hateful attacks in Britain aimed at the citizens of EU member states”.

The Czech premier spoke to May by telephone on Thursday after Zdenek Makar, a 31-year-old Czech, was killed in a brawl outside a London pub.

A 29-year-old Briton has been charged with his murder, according to reports.

“The Czech government finds it unacceptable to see Czechs attacked because of their origin and being treated as second-class citizens,” Sobotka told May.

Therefore I asked the British prime minister… to let me know what measures her government will adopt to stop these hateful attacks.

In a statement, a Downing Street spokesperson said May had offered her sincere condolences for the Czech national killed in London last week but stressed that police did not consider racism to have been the motive.

“She said that while we understood this particular incident was not considered to be a hate crime, the UK Government condemned hate crime in the strongest way possible and it had no place in British society.”

The killing of the Czech national follows the murder of a Polish man in August.

Police in Harlow, northeast of London, are investigating the 27 August murder of 40-year-old Polish factory worker Arek Jozwik as a possible hate crime although they have said the motive is still not clear.

Two Polish officers also joined British police in the town after two Poles were also attacked outside a pub there on 4 September.

British police said in July that hate crimes surged before and after the 23 June referendum in which voters chose to exit the EU following a campaign dominated by a divisive debate about immigration.

Although police attributed the increase in part to greater vigilance by officers and greater awareness among the public, more than 3,000 incidents were reported to police across the country from 16-30 June, up 42% on the same period last year, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

The most common offence reported was harassment, including assault, verbal abuse and spitting.

Poland has also urged London to protect its nationals living in Britain, of whom there were about 831,000 in 2015, following the Brexit vote.

Czech authorities put the number of their citizens working in Britain at some 37,000.

© – AFP 2016

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