Anti-Roma protests shifting from Šluknov foothills to Ústí nad Labem
Protest marches against the Roma are expected to spread further into the country from the Šluknov foothills. On Saturday, 8 October, locals have convened a gathering in the city of Ústí nad Labem. An invitation published on a social networkign site announces that the rally will begin on Mírové Square at 13:00 and will march through the town past the Regional Authority on Lidické Square to the town hall. A larger amount of ultra-right supporters of the DSSS party are preparing to attend, according to the head of the North Bohemian cell of the ultra-nationalist party, Petr Kotáb.
"We support the rights of decent citizens, irrespective of their skin color, and we wish for the fastest long-term solution to this problem in the places where the situation has not yet escalated to the degree it has in the Šluknov foothills," the organizers' declaration reads. Roughly 800 people have confirmed their participation in the march so far.
Milan Sůra, the convener of the march, said the plan is for there to be a short speech on Mírové Square and then a march down Hrnčířská and Velká hradební streets (past the Regional Authority), then down Bratislavská, Winstona Churchilla, and Masarykova streets to Lidické Square, ending at the town hall. The original date of the gathering was Saturday 1 October, but Sůra did not manage to announced the march in time to the town hall, so the event was postponed for a week. He properly announced the new date to authorities in Tuesday, 27 September. According to Sůra, residents of other towns who share their opinions have confirmed their participation. As he wrote in a social network discussion, he is negotiating with the DSSS.
DSSS promoters and other racists have been very visible at most of the eight demonstrations that have been held to date in Varnsdorf. Kotáb is speaking of the demonstration in Ústí as one of the Varnsdorf marches, even though his party did not organize any of those. However around 100 extremists have participated in them at the behest of the party leadership. "This weekend we are not planning to go to Varnsdorf, we have another, private event scheduled, so we will probably not be able to attend in large numbers, but we are heading to Ústí a week later," Kotáb said.
The "We Don't Want Neo-Nazis in Ústí" Initiative is planning to actively counter-protest the neo-Nazi march, but for the time being it is not clear what form the counter-protest will take. "There will also be a march in Varnsdorf on that same date. That is a priority for us, we will be at the residential hotels in solidarity with the local Roma," Miroslav Brož of the Initiative said.
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