Friday, May 20, 2011



MP Šulc pulls ‘racist’ Facebook photo

20 MAY 2011

ODS deputy Jiří Šulc — accused of exploiting anti-Roma sentiments in his 2008 reelection campaign — claimed not to have posted the photo

Šulc has publicly accused the Roma of shunning work and abusing the social welfare system

A former Czech regional governor called to task in 2008 for racist campaign posters targeting the local Romani population has removed a photo from his Facebook page calling for the expulsion of 200,000 Roma people to Haiti, after being confronted about it by local media.

Civic Democrat (ODS) parliamentary deputy Jiří Šulc claimed not to have posted the photo on his private social media site, which showed a group of poorly dressed Roma (also known as Gypsies), including an obese shirtless man, with the mock headline, “Help for Haiti: We’ll send them 200,000 new Haitian citizens.”

That’s roughly the number of Haitians who died in the devastating earthquake in January 2010, and ČT24 reported that the photo had been on Šulc’s site for more than a year. “I don’t know anything about it. If there is something like that, I’ll have it removed,” he told the station; the photo disappeared from his Facebook page on Thursday.

Martin Šimáček, director of the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion in Roma Localities, told ČT24 that such a photograph — on a politician’s website — could exacerbate racial tensions in already problematic areas, and could be a criminal act.

‘It is a racial attack on the Roma population in the Czech Republic, and it is also inadmissible in view of what happened in Haiti.’

“It is a racial attack on the Roma population in the Czech Republic, and it is also inadmissible in view of what happened in Haiti,” Šimáček added, referring to the earthquake.

Back in 2008, when seeking reelection as governor of the Ústí Region in Northern Bohemia, Šulc was accused of playing the race card in his campaign ahead of the local elections by putting up billboards saying, “Work hard, Gadjos, so that we are better off,” the word Gadjo being the Romany expression for white people.

In an interview with the regional daily Ústecký Deník, Šulc said at the time he had wanted to express his “disagreement with the abuse of social welfare in the Ústí region by a group of people who have not wanted to work for a long time and who abuse our too-generous social system,” adding that he paid to make those banners from his own pocket

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