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August 9, 2022



Commentary: Actually, the Czech Police do not "know" that a gallows has no place in a democracy

6.7.2015 19:32
The mock-ups of gallows that were brandished at a demonstration  on 1 July 2015 in Prague against immigration and quotas and in favor of the Czech Republic leaving the EU. (PHOTO:
The mock-ups of gallows that were brandished at a demonstration on 1 July 2015 in Prague against immigration and quotas and in favor of the Czech Republic leaving the EU. (PHOTO:

Police officers do not have an easy job and Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec evidently does not know much about their work. Just imagine someone bringing a mock-up of a gallows to a demonstration, as occurred last Wednesday.

According to Chovanec, the situation should be immediately clear to them:  "This has no place in a democracy." How did this smart aleck come to that conclusion?

Does he have access to a different manual than ordinary police officers do? They had never before encountered a mock-up of a gallows at a demonstration, never read anything about it in the manual, and must logically, therefore, analyze the entire situation now.

"As far as carrying a mock-up of a gallows goes, that is a new element, and that is why we have asked our Legislative Analysis Department for their stance on how they evaluate that," Jana Macalíková, spokesperson for the Czech Police President, said regarding the current dispute over the course of Wednesday's demonstration. Watch out, Mr Minister:  It may be proven yet that those mock-ups of a gallows do belong in a democracy.

For the time being, we just don't know. Let's not be hasty.  

Let's wait for the verdict of the analysts. They'll be researching the matter all week!

What is there to get hysterical about? Certainly, from the perspective of a police intervention at a demonstration, this is not a completely operative way to go, but it is actually completely democratic, because it honors the presumption of innocence.

The all-knowing Chovanec would immediately take the gallows out of the people's hands! What a slippery guy!

He would even do it without an analysis! What's more, he is criticizing the officers.

What are they supposed to do? After all, they do have some experience with demonstrations.

They have seen quite a few things already, they know how to handle them, and those are probably all in the manual that the analysts regularly update for them. Take, for example, some left-wing activists who want to block the neo-Nazis' way.

In that case the officers take action with automatic, direct certainty and escort the left-wingers to the police wagons. A gallows, though?

The possibilities are endless! Chovanec, sitting in the warmth of his ministerial office, can't even imagine them all.

What if next time someone brings a guillotine? Or a stake, like they did for Jan Hus?

Aha? Are the officers supposed to tear injection needles from the hands of demonstrators because they might be lethal?

Is a demonstrator allowed to hiss? Or is that a sign that he is sending someone to the gas chambers?

What if the demonstrator is clever and brings a mock-up of a snake - to symbolize hissing? Are snakes permitted at demonstrations?

The police analysts are going crazy! What's important, though, is that they are working on it.

They are working carefully and gradually, not rushing headlong into this like Minister Chovanec. Sometimes they even arrive at clear and indubitable (if partial) conclusions.

Their conclusions are clear, for example, when it comes to hemp:  A hemp noose yes, but a joint - never. Hey, ho.

Michal Komárek, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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