Roma Lives Matter: Regarding the death of Stanislav Tomas

The Roma are upset and angry regarding the death of Stanislav Tomáš, who on 19 June died helplessly under the knee of an intervening police officer in Teplice. They are very well aware of the fact if you have a darker skin color the likelihood of social and police bullying increases, and in the case of a police intervention, you might not survive. They are outraged by the approach of police and political paratroopers, who praise the police intervention and show ostentatiously that the whole thing is closed by declaring that the police intervention consisting of long time pushing harshly the knee on his neck did not have any effect on Stanislav Tomáš’s death. Short after, protests took place both in Czech Republic and other European countries as well.

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The Roma are upset and angry regarding the death of Stanislav Tomáš, who on 19 June died helplessly under the knee of an intervening police officer in Teplice. They are very well aware of the fact if you have a darker skin color the likelihood of social and police bullying increases, and in the case of a police intervention, you might not survive. They are outraged by the approach of police and political paratroopers, who praise the police intervention and show ostentatiously that the whole thing is closed by declaring that the police intervention consisting of long time pushing harshly the knee on his neck did not have any effect on Stanislav Tomáš’s death.

It is no wonder, then, that they are taking the streets to express his opposition to the lightning-fast closure of the whole affair by the police and his disgust at the (unfortunately standard) racist approach of the police leadership and political leaders. In the Czech Republic, anti-racists from a broad anti-authoritarian movement join the Romanies, while liberals seemingly condemning racism are silent as usual when Romanies are killed.

But politicians and the police are still doing their own thing and are satisfied with themselves. They have made the case closed from the very beginning. They never attached any weight to the voice of the Roma. It is tragicomic that both the Minister of the Interior and the Prime Minister are members of the Government Council for Roma Minority Affairs. At the same time, they both did not wait for any more thorough investigation and immediately stood up for the police intervention and praised the cops. The Roma thus cynically sent a clear signal of the absence of any respect.

Here is an overview of some events that have taken place in the Czech Republic and abroad since the death of Stanislav Tomáš. It is significant that in the Czech mainstream media, which often takes on racist stereotypes, you usually do not learn anything about them at all, as if they did not take place at all.

  • On June 21, Roma activists Štefan Pongo and Jozef Miker established a place of reverence at the scene, where people gradually came to light candles. Hundreds of people took turns here in two days.
  • On June 26, a reverential assembly was held in Teplice with the deceased attended by several hundred Roma men and women. The speeches were interspersed with prayers, singing the Romani anthem and spontaneous chanting: “We want the truth!”, “Shame on the police!”, “We’re home!”… After the official part of the event, people decided to go to the nearest police department to express their anger. In front of the police station, however, robocops were already ready with batons in their hands and, under the threat of violence, forced those present to break up.
  • On the evening of June 21, a group of anti-fascists passed through the center of Prague chanting the slogans “There was a murder in Teplice”, “Cops are killers” and “Solidarity is our weapon”.
  • On June 24, Roma and others met in Glasgow, Scotland for a vigil under Stanislav Tomas. A Czech Roma woman living now in Scotland also spoke at the event. Among other things, it was said: “This is very important for us, because we as a community must rise up and stand up against police brutality and we must share as much as possible what happened to Stanislav.”
  • On June 25, the Roma Trial organized a protest against racism in front of the Czech Embassy in Berlin. It was supported by Roma NGOs and non-Roma anti-racism organizations.
  • On 26 June, a protest against racism and discrimination against the Roma took place in Dublin.
  • On June 26, a protest rally was held in Madrid.
  • On June 29, about 400 Roma men met in front of the Czech Embassy in the Romanian capital Bucharest. Banu Ionut Alin of the NGO Aresel said: “The reason we have taken the streets today is that this institutionalized racism is becoming more and more present. It is a growing trend of an extremist approach to the Roma community. “
  • On June 30, a group of many anti-authoritarian collectives and individuals convened a demonstration in Prague, in which the Anarchist Federation also took part. About 200 people, including about 20 Roma men, expressed their disagreement with the police’s actions and the attitude of the politicians. There were words condemning an approach where the lives of some people obviously didn’t matter.
  • On June 30, a march of hundreds of people took place in Serbia to the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Belgrade, where they handed over their demands. The organizing organization Opre Roma Serbia commented: “The death of Stanislav Tomáš caused by the police in Teplice, Czech Republic, is the latest example of police brutality towards the Roma. It is a country that has systematically sterilized Romani women and weakened the education of Romani children. In this country, the president is openly racist and the prime minister has just thanked the police for what happened to Stanislav Tomas. “
  • On July 1, a protest rally took place in Italy.
  • On July 2, a protest took place in Hungary in front of the Czech Embassy in Budapest.
  • On July 3, there was a protest in Skopje, North Macedonia. The march, which ended at the Czech Embassy, ​​was attended by more than a thousand people.
  • On July 3, a demonstration with 450 people took place at the Czech Embassy in the Bulgarian capital Sofia. People continued the campaign by sending letters to the Czech Embassy.
  • On July 3, a protest took place in Paris.
  • On July 3, a protest of a group of people took place in Hungary in front of the Czech Embassy in Budapest. Candles were lit in memory of the deceased.
  • On July 4, a meeting was held in front of the Czech Embassy in London, where flowers were laid, candles were lit and then a protest letter was handed over to the embassy.
  • On July 5, an anti-racist rally was held in front of the Czech consulate in Dresden. Roma Lives Matter inscriptions appeared here and candles were lit in memory of Stanislav Tomáš.
  • On July 5, a banner was hung in Dresden on the building where the RM 16 Club is located.
  • On July 6, about 200 people gathered in front of the Czech Embassy in Pristina, Kosovo, for an event organized by the Roma civic movement Opre Roma Kosovo. They held signs such as “Are we Tomáš” or “How many were not filmed?” “We express our concern about the brutality of the (Czech) police and demand an investigation into the case, because Roma in Europe deserve respect,” said Roma Veritas Kosovo.
  • On July 6, the local civic movement Proud Roma in Free Slovakia organized a protest in Bratislava.
  • On July 10, a demonstration against racism and discrimination was convened in Ústí nad Labem, convened by the newly emerging Roma political party Roma Luma. (The Anarchist Federation was offered a speech at the event, which we refused to thank, given that the event serves, among other things, to present a political party, which would run counter to the federation’s existing consensus.) “The whole world is watching us and the whole world is supporting us.” emphasized the speakers at a meeting attended by about two hundred people.

 

The article was translated and originally published in english: https://prasinoieleutheriakoi.wordpress.com/2021/07/22/romalivesmatter-regrading-the-death-of-stanislav-tomas/

Original article: https://www.afed.cz/text/7424/demonstrace-za-stanislava-tomase?lang=czech

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