Protests Expected After Suspected Murder of Roma Man by Ukrainian National

The police say the accused man stabbed two people near Pristaviste tram stop in Brno-Bystrc, one of whom later died in hospital. Photo credit: Lucie Fukova, via Twitter.

Brno, 13 June (CTK) – The Brno Municipal Court today remanded a 37-year-old man in custody in connection with the fatal stabbing of another man shortly before the Ignis Brunensis firework display on Saturday, court spokeswoman Petra Lanickova told CTK. 

The police say the accused man stabbed two people near a tram stop in Brno-Bystrc, one of whom later died in hospital.

The perpetrator is a Ukrainian national, according to social media, and the victim was reportedly of Roma origin. The case has already been picked up and disseminated by online far-right, pro-Russian, and disinformation networks, and mass protests are expected in response.

Tens of thousands of people headed to a fireworks display at the Brno Dam in Brno-Bystrc on Saturday. The police have repeatedly appealed to eye-witnesses to the conflict and those who know what preceded it on the tram to contact them.

The court’s reason for ordering the detention was the risk that the suspect might escape, Lanickova said.

“No complaint has yet been filed against that decision, both the accused and the prosecutor have kept time for considering it,” the spokeswoman said.

According to an earlier police statement, several people became involved in a scuffle near the Pristaviste tram stop shortly before 8pm on Saturday. During the fight, a man attacked two men with a knife, who both ended up in hospital, where one of them later died.

According to the police, a witness alerted police officers to the fight near the public transport stop.

“The police officers ran to the scene of the incident, one of them ensured that paramedics were called, the other took a description of the perpetrator and soon noticed a person matching the description nearby on the boarding island. The 37-year-old man, who was later identified, was arrested on the spot,” said police spokesman Pavel Svab.

Svab said criminal investigators were working hard to clarify the circumstances of the case.

The police have not released the nationality of the suspected perpetrator. According to media and social media reports, the perpetrator was a Ukrainian and the victim was a Roma man.

Government Commissioner for Roma Minority Affairs Lucie Fukova expressed her regret on Twitter over the death of the young man. She also called on the Roma to remain calm and not reach to generalisations regarding the nationality of the perpetrator.

“After all, we ourselves have been fighting against generalisations for a long time,” she wrote.

Fukova will meet representatives of the police, non-governmental organisations and local Roma people in the next few days.

A demonstration in Brno has been called for Saturday afternoon in connection with the death. The news server reported that extremists have begun to exploit the event for their political goals.

Interior Minister Vit Rakusan (STAN) has called on the public not to be manipulated by those who want to use the reprehensible act of one person to stir up intolerance against any group of people. “The principle of collective guilt is as contemptible as violence itself,” he added.

He said the police were investigating the man’s death using routine procedures.

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