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Armed neo-Nazis attempt a pogrom on the Roma in Přerov, police arrest 30 neo-Nazis

Prerov, 4.4.2009 22:11, (ROMEA)

Approximately 400 neo-Nazis have arrived in Přerov along the march route announced to the city by a member of the Workers' Party presidium, Jiří Švehlík. After the march ended, they attempted a pogrom on the Roma living on Husova, Škodova and Kojetínská streets. Approximately 700 police officers fought them in the streets, using a helicopter with thermovision and armed transport carriers. The neo-Nazi march has cost the taxpayers several hundreds of thousands of crowns. The march, called a "March against Racism", was announced by the Workers' Party presidium member, while accompanying actions were organized by the Autonomous Nationalists together with neo-Nazis from the National Resistance. The town hall claims it could not ban the march and alleges there were no reasons to do so. Some lawyers are of a different opinion. The town hall previously claimed that the demonstration would be dispersed should the law be broken, but as it transpired found no reasons to do so.

VIDEO
Neo-Nazis attack

PHOTOGALLERY

ON-LINE BROADCAST

17:57
Romea.cz is ending its on-line broadcast of the neo-Nazi attempt at a pogrom on the Roma in Přerov. We thank all of our co-workers for risking their safety in order to bring our readers updated, objective information. Once again, thanks for your dedication! We also thank all of the Roma in Přerov for not responding to this neo-Nazi provocation and for handling the situation outstandingly!
We thank our readers for their attention.
17:14
Police and emergency medical personnel assess the day. The police have detained dozens of radicals, but it is not clear how many have been taken into custody. According to Romea.cz, there should be around 40 of them (more here...). Injuries have been sustained by police officers, neo-Nazis and their opponents, mostly light injuries, but one demonstrator probably lost a finger to an explosive device.


FOTO: Jiří S. Sláma

17:10
"In cooperation with the police, the town of Přerov did not find any legal reason, during the march, to disperse the gathering," Bohuslav Přidal, press spokesperson for the Přerov town hall, told Romea.cz. However, this seems strange considering how many people were injured, among them a police officer from the conflict prevention team.
16:54
The neo-Nazis slowly begin leaving Přerov. "The neo-Nazis at the train station have no chance to get through to the locality where the Roma live. The police will not let them through. It looks like it's over," a Romea.cz co-worker reports. Now the threat consists of small militant groups of neo-Nazis who might attempt to attack Romani individuals whom they randomly encounter.
16:43
According to information received by Romea.cz, the Roma in Kojetínská and Škodová streets are calm. The police are protecting the locality from the neo-Nazis and have the situation under control. Romea.cz co-workers have announced that the situation is calming down and that the police have it under control once more.
16:27
The neo-Nazis have not managed to combine forces. There are several small groups in the town in addition to the larger groups the police are monitoring at the train station. One group is trying to get across the tracks to Kojetínská street. The battle has now halted. "It seems the main riot is over," reports a Romea.cz co-worker.
16:20
Police have taken away the followng weapons from the arrested neo-Nazis: Batons, rounded explosives used for firecrackers, small siphon bombs with fuses containing an unidentified substance, smoke shells, mace, pepper spray, and bottles full of petrol.
16:14
"The situation is very dangerous now, because groups of neo-Nazis are moving around the city who want to attack those opposing them or the Roma," Jozef Baláž, advisor to Regional Development Minister Cyril Svoboda, described the situaton in Přerov for Romea.cz.
16:08
According to Deník.cz, neo-Nazis have set a municipal police vehicle on fire with Molotov cocktails. The fire has been put out and the perpetrator has been arrested.
15:56
Neo-Nazis are trying to get into the the locality where the Roma live. For the time being, the police are preventing them. Approxmately 70 neo-Nazis are being held at the train station by police, who are battling others in the areas of Husova, Škodova and Kojetínská streets. "This is just like in Janov, the neo-Nazis are attempting a pogrom against the Roma," a Romea.cz co-worker reports.
15:55
"It is evident that the neo-Nazi movement respects nothing. This is the result of the autumn demonstrations in Litvínov-Janov. No one has been punished for the organization of those demonstrations, nor for the violent crimes that were committed there. That should never have been repeated, all violent offenders should have been prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The National Resistance movement and the Autonomous Nationalists pose a threat to the internal security of the Czech Republic and a direct threat to the Roma community," lawyer Klára Kalibová commented on the situation in Přerov for Romea.cz.
15:49
iDNES.cz reports 40 arrests.
15:33
Police intervene, using pyrotechnics and attempting to push the neo-Nazis back towards the train station. The neo-Nazis throw smoke shells, explosives, cobblesones and small bottles at the police. Tear gas is in the air. It is not clear whether the police or neo-Nazis used it when they attempted to attack a small group of people, including those in connection with Romea.cz. "They are running after us... Good, the police are driving them back to the train station," our co-worker shouted into the phone.
15:30
Police begin arrests, about 20 neo-Nazis are lying on the ground.
15:28
The neo-Nazis are kicking another person, the police intervene later.


FOTO: Jiří S. Sláma


FOTO: Jiří S. Sláma

15:23
The police are now fighting with the neo-Nazis who have attacked them in small groups. They have armed themselves with cobblestones and begun to build barricades out of garbage containers. "The situation is very dangerous, the neo-Nazis are not under the control of the police,"our reporter on the scene says.
15:17
The situation is unpredictable. The event has been officially ended by Jiří Švehlík, a member of the Workers' Party presidium, but the neo-Nazis have divided themselves into small groups in order to attack people. "Until now the police had everything under control, now it is worse," our reporter on the scene says.
15:11
A police officer from the conflict prevention team has been injured, as well as others from the camp of those resisting the neo-Nazis. Despite this, the town has still not dispersed the march!
15:10
Two booby-traps with explosives have been discovered. One is on the platform of the train station in Přerov and the other was found by the Tesco in Kojetínská street. Technicians immediately arrived on the scene to secure the explosives, Deník.cz reports.
15:05
The whole neo-Nazi march is at the bus station. Their opponents are yelling at them.
14:58
Even though the neo-Nazis have injured their first victim, the town of Přerov has not dispersed the march and the Nazis are marching on Komenská street. Leading the march together with the Workers' Party presidium, the neo-Nazis are yelling the slogans "Resistance, Resistance!" and "Radically, nationally, socially!"

14:46
Neo-Nazis have begun to attack people, throwing explosives and smoke shells. The first attack has occurred! An injured man near Tesco has a bleeding face and has been taken away by ambulance. Police have begun to intervene.
14:34
About 400 neo-Nazis have started marcing through Přerov. They have stopped at the corner of Husová and Škodová streets. They are chanting slogans such as "Czechs come with us!"
14:32
Prior to the start of the march, the conflict prevention team called on the demonstrators to take off their dark glasses and hoods, but only some of the radicals obeyed. 
14:30
"The Czech Helsinki Committee (ČHV) fundamentally condemns the public administration's decision to make way for the neo-Nazis. I consider the decision by city officials not to disperse this illegal gathering, motivated perhaps by an attempt to preserve the impression of order in the town and the impression that the citizens are protected, to have been unacceptably arbitrary and its result is, at a minimum, indirect support for the neo-Nazis and responsibility for violations of the rights of the residents of Přerov, especially a direct threat to the Roma community. The approach of the officials is a failure and a mockery of the principle of upholding human rights," said František Valeš of ČHV.
14:04
The neo-Nazis have started to consult one another, the racist action is beginning. Jiří Švehlík, a member of the Workers' Party presidium, is speaking to the neo-Nazis through a megaphone and warning them that they are waiting for another train, which is to arrive at 14:15.

13:58
Romea.cz's information that the neo-Nazis want to attempt attacks on the Roma has been confirmed. The radicals may attack the ethnic minorities in the town, police intervention leader Martin Hrinko told journalists. Police have found Molotov cocktails and cherry bombs in the garbage cans along the announced parade route which were hidden there by the neo-Nazis.
13:37
Another 100 neo-Nazis are arriving in Přerov; the estimated total, according to people on the spot, is between 300 and 350. The first small conflict has taken place. Two people shouted the slogan "Antifa" at the neo-Nazis and the conflict prevention team led the opponents of the neo-Nazis aside.

13:32
"The police did not underestimate the situation. Přerov is the second-safest place in the country today, after Prague," said Martin Hrinko, the commander of the police measures. The police refused to say how many extremists have already arrived in Přerov for tactical reasons. According to estimates from the spot there are around 250 so far; ČTK reports there were about 200 neo-Nazis in front of the train station at 13:15.
13:25
The event is being monitored by 700 police officers and a police helicopter which is flying above Přerov and transmitting images to the crisis center. According to Mayor Jiří Lajtoch, a court expert is also in the town. "The court expert will help determine whether a group of people is comprised of neo-Nazis, whether they are using neo-Nazi symbols and whether the content of their speeches is racist, xenophobic or anti-Semitic. The court expert will not answer legal questions. The police or the town administration must evaluate whether the speeches, symbols or other behavior violates the law in order for any eventual criminal prosecutions or dispersal of the demonstration," lawyer Klara Kalibova explained to Romea.cz.
13:13
According to information from Romea.cz, after evaluating the security risk, the police have recommended Přerov town hall disperse the gathering. "We gave the town all relevant information on the organization sponsoring the march. We have experts on extremism here and I believe the town should disperse this event should the law be broken," police spokesperson Michaela Sedláčková told Romea.cz. According to the commander of the Interior Ministry measures, Radim Daňek, the police are merely there to support during such an intervention. The town hall is the authority who should disperse the gathering.
13:02
Approximately 250 neo-Nazis are gathered at the train station. "I saw people who were practically children among them, some of them cannot be more than 15 years of age," said GR, a member of the monitoring team. A small group of about 30-50 neo-Nazis has broken off and headed towards the town. According to Deník.cz, a very first small group of several dozen people left the train station and is walking along Čechova street along the planned route.
12:45
"If the town does not disperse the demonstration, it will be making a mistake, from the invitations and the mobilization video it is clear that the demonstration is aimed at calling for violence and suppressing the rights and freedoms of the Roma, " lawyer Klára Kalibová told Romea.cz. In her view the role of the police will also be very difficult.
12:37
"Most of the Roma are behaving in a very disciplined way and are determined to get through this neo-Nazi provocation. I believe the Roma will handle the situation with flying colors," Martin Navrátil of the Government Agency for Social Inclusion in Roma Localities told Romea.cz.
12:27
Police officers are dispersed along the entire route of the march and are guarding the entrances into the locality which is mostly Roma-occupied. The access roads are barricaded with containers.

12:22
The Roma in Přerov are collaborating with nonprofit organizations and the police and are completely calm. The information being broadcast by some media that they want to prevent the neo-Nazis from marching is untrue.
12:15
About 60 neo-Nazis are taking the train from Prague to Přerov, according to Czech Television.
12:09
About 20 neo-Nazis were seen at the train station in Olomouc, where police are also on patrol.
11:50
The police are patrolling the bus and train stations and waiting for the neo-Nazis to arrive. The situation is being monitored by the helicopter with thermovision.
11:46
Small groups of police officers can be seen throughout the town, and police vans are bringing in riot police. "There are not many police officers, but they are evidently hidden somewhere," one of those present told Romea.cz.
11:44
According Romea.cz, local Roma have decided to honor their agreement with the town and nonprofit organizations, they will not allow themselves to be provoked and they will let the neo-Nazis march in peace.
11:30
A special monitoring team of the informal group Gypsy Radical has arrived in Přerov. "They are posting about 40 Roma in the streets, representatives of the People in Need organizations, the Agency for Social Inclusion in Roma Communities and Regional Coordinator Renáta Kötnerová are discussing with them," member GR, who is directly at the site, told Romea.cz.
10:30
The Roma who live on Škodova street and the surrounding area are standing outside together with representatives of the initiative "We do not want neo-Nazis in Přerov!", for example the director of the local branch of People in Need, Richard Kořínek.
10:04
The first neo-Nazis are arriving for the demonstration in Přerov. Roughly 15 people have made it to the town since morning. The police are checking them for weapons. Another 15 people are traveling by train from Plzen but have not made it to Přerov yet.
10:00
A police helicopter and patrols have started monitoring the situation in Přerov.
9:40
According to Romea.cz, the Director of the Office of the Government Council of Roma Community Affairs and council secretary Gabriela Hrabaňová is on the way to Prerov with her team. A special monitoring team of the informal group Gypsy Radical is also on the way.
9:30
It is forbidden to park cars along the march route. The event will be patrolled by police including units from the Regional directorate, traffic police, dogs and a conflict prevention team. A helicopter will monitor the situation from above. The police have warned the Roma community, against whom the action is aimed.

ROUTE OF THE MARCH

Kojetínská - Komenského - Havlíčkova - Čechova - Kramářova - Husova
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Czech republic, Extremism, Neo-Nazism



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