Monday, August 3, 2015

Czech president tells migrants: ‘No one invited you’

Czech President Milos Zeman lashed out at illegal immigrants Sunday after dozens tried to flee a detention center, prompting police to use tear gas against the demonstrators.

“No one invited you here. But now you are here, you must respect our rules, as we respect the rules when we go to your country,” he said in an interview published on the website of popular newspaper Blesk.

“If you don’t like it, then leave.”

About 100 people who were awaiting deportation, mainly from Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, tried to flee a detention center in the northeast of the country Friday.

Police were called in and used tear gas against the migrants, some of whom caused damage to the center, the authorities said.

Interior Minister Milan Chovanec had said the migrants were probably trying to reach Germany.

“We can better assist these people on their own territory,” said Zeman, a former Social Democrat prime minister.

“We should work to bring down these terrorist regimes, ISIS in particular, to eliminate the main reason they leave [their own countries],” he said.

According to a survey published Friday by the Centre for Analysis and Empirical Studies, over 70 percent of Czechs are reluctant to welcome migrants from Africa and the Middle East into their country.

An EU member state since 2004, the Czech Republic has agreed to host 1,500 refugees by the year 2017.

During the first six months of the year, Czech police intercepted 3,018 illegal migrants, up almost 50 percent on the same period in 2014, according to police.
 [A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 03, 2015, on page 8.]


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