Plans to give local Czech councils the powers to ban prostitutes, beggars, and other undesirables convicted of petty offenses from their territory have come up against opposition.
The Czech upper house of parliament, the Senate, on Wednesday rounded on the proposal to allow bans on those who had committed certain petty offences. They pointed out that it was probably against the constitution as an infringement on free movement and would simply move problems on rather than solving them. The main opposition Social Democrats (ČSSD) have a thin majority in the Senate.
The initial proposal was passed in the lower house of parliament, where the center-right has a majority, in March with 94 votes out of the 179 lawmakers present in favor. The proposal will now return to the lower house where 101 members of parliament in the 200-seat lower house must vote in favor to overcome the Senate veto.
Many Czech towns and cities have opted for measures, such as bans on drinking in public, as a means of curbing public nuisance. Others have opted for special areas where prostitutes or streetwalkers will be tolerated and not hassled by authorities. But moves to try and ban troublemakers and prostitutes from districts is a much more radical step.
Some big cities, such as the capital Prague, complain that most of their problems with the homeless and beggars are not home grown but imported from other parts of the country. In a controversial proposal two years ago, one of the top Civic Democrats (ODS) on the Prague council proposed a camp on the outskirts of the city be erected where the most difficult homeless cases would be shipped. The proposal was dropped after the subsequent uproar.