‘Czech Floyd’ Illustrates Struggles of Roma Lives Matter
The video has sparked anger among Roma organisations and comparisons with the death of George Floyd in the US. Michal Miko, head of Romanonet - a network of Czech Roma NGOs - condemned the incident as "the height of brutality".
But while Floyd's death sparked Black Lives Matter into a global movement, it's unlikely that Tomas's demise will create much momentum for Roma Lives Matter, the Central European equivalent that seeks to expose the discrimination and brutality that the minority faces daily.
As with Floyd's infamous nine minutes and 26 seconds under Derek Chauvin's knee, a battle of narratives has quickly developed around Tomas's death, despite the incident being caught on film.
Reflecting the populist trend, "the truth" is now not reality but a subject of fierce debate based on perspective. Claims and counter claims clash; character assassination, whataboutism, and all sorts of propaganda, emotive pleas, soft soaping and hard-nosed denials are employed to try to win the public mood.
As the video of the incident began to attract attention on June 21, the Czech police moved swiftly to state that Tomas's death had nothing to do with their actions. They claim that they arrived on the scene to find Tomas on the floor with injuries. When they approached him, they report, he became aggressive.
At that point, the police acted to subdue him and called an ambulance. After being put in the ambulance, they claim, he collapsed and died. Police said doctors thought his death was due to drugs.
"No Czech Floyd," the police asserted not long afterwards as they released another video. In this scene, a half-naked man lies screaming on the ground, evidently unwell emotionally and physically. He...