Governor armed over decision to close refugee center in Prague

The Major of Prague announced his decision on Wednesday after rebelling against the government and receiving several warnings that the capital could not cope with the influx of Ukrainian refugees. He said Prague, which processed more than 90,000 applications for special visas, accepted up to four times as many refugees as in some other regions.

The mayor blamed the situation head-on at the government’s doorstep and said he could not build a system to evenly distribute refugees to the region within three months.

Responses from the community were fast and ferocious, with some governors threatening to take similar actions. Governor Martin Netricki said that if Prague closed the refugee center, the Pardubice region would follow. Rudolf Spotak, Governor of the Plzen region, said the Plzen Center could also be shut down due to work overload.

Governor Jan Grolich of the South Moravian Region complained that the decision to close central Prague was not discussed with other governors. He said the situation was difficult in many areas and that unilateral withdrawal was indifferent to other areas.

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Tent city in Malešice | Photo: Vít Šimánek, ČTK
Tent City in Malesiche | Photo: Vít Šimánek, ČTK<!–

The refugee wave tensions that began three months ago have continued for weeks, with Prague being the heaviest burden. The situation was exacerbated in recent weeks by the fact that many Roma refugees from Ukraine arrived in the capital and applied for humanitarian visas despite having Hungarian nationality. During the lengthy screening process that followed, hundreds of people camped at Prague’s main railway stations until the tent cities were built in Prague and Malesiche to find out who was eligible and who was not.

Interior Minister Witt Lakshan admitted that there was a problem with the capital, but said the closure of the refugee center in Prague was regrettable.

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Vít Rakušan | Photo: Office of Czech Government
Vít Rakušan | Photo: Czech Government Office<!–

“We know that Prague is overloaded. However, the focus of the Praha Refugee Center can continue to help by registering refugees, and refugees are elsewhere. It will be redistributed to the region. Closing one center and putting pressure on another is not really a solution. “

The minister said he and Prime Minister Fiara were ready to meet with the Mayor of Prague and look for a solution. The government recently rejected the Mayor of Prague’s proposal to motivate refugees to leave Prague and move to the area because it is legally unacceptable.

The Czech Republic has so far granted temporary visas to 361,400 Ukrainian refugees, of whom about 300,000 remain in the country. Governor armed over decision to close refugee center in Prague

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