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Czech extremism report: Islamophobic group uses cyber-bullying

Prague, 23.1.2015 16:35, (ROMEA)
Followers of the group
Followers of the group "We Don't Want Islam in the Czech Republic" gathered on 16 January 2015 in front of Prague Castle. (PHOTO: Jan Čonka, Romea.cz)

The ultra-right scene in the Czech Republic has recently focused on "combating Islam". The most active group is the Czech Defense League (CZDL), represented by "We Don't Want Islam in the Czech Republic" (IvČRN) on the Facebook social networking site.

Those are the findings of a report by the Czech Interior Ministry on the last quarter of 2014. A total of 51 actions were held during that time that were either convened directly by or involving the participation of politically extremist entities, 29 events on the ultra-right side of the spectrum and 22 on the ultra-left.

Year-on-year a significant decline in the number of ultra-right actions was noted, as well as a slight decline in ultra-left ones. "The ultra-right scene continues to act in a comparatively fragmented, inconsistent way. Its long-term, frequently-mentioned crisis of financing, issues and personnel has created limits as to what its active entities can do. The scene has had long-term problems, not only in reaching the broader public through its actions and winning adherents, but also in convening and mobilizing its existing sympathizers," the report says.    

The Interior Ministry says this is exemplified by the comparatively low turnout for an assembly marking the 17 November holiday in Brno last year. Only 80 ultra-right participants attended that event.

Islamophobes use cyberbullying as a weapon

According to the report, the ultra-right scene has recently oriented itself more toward manifesting Islamophobia. The Czech Defense League (CZDL), represented by "We Don't Want Islam in the Czech Republic" (IvČRN) on the Facebook social networking site, is a group that has long profiled itself in this particular way.

"A rising number of cases of the group cyber-bullying those opposed to it have been alleged," the report reads. The Workers Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) and its youth organization, Workers Youth (Dělnická mládež - DM) are also mentioned in the context of Islamophobia.

The DSSS has interpreted the Muslim community as a threat, not just from a security perspective, but from that of the demise of European culture and traditions. "The exploitation of that topic is linked to their closer collaboration with West European ultra-right entities in particular, as well as to their efforts to reach out to new followers," the ministry warns.

Nazi salute given at neo-Nazi concert in Brno

At the end of 2014 there were several neo-Nazi concerts in the Czech Republic. Approximately 80 people attended a concert in Brno on 16 November by the bands Squad 96, Karlos Band and the Slovak performer Reborn.

Police had to address several audience members giving the Nazi salute there. Activists from the "Generace identity" (Generations of Identity) group organized a concert on 29 November at the Na Kopečku restaurant in Ústí nad Labem, primarily for an audience who crossed the border from Germany to attend.  

The ad for the concert described it as taking place in "Central Germany". The German bands Blutzeugen and Confident of Victory performed there, who are infamous on the so-called White Power Music scene.

Left-wing extremists mobilize, support cheated employees

The ministry reports that the ultra-left and, by extension, the anarchist scene continues to mobilize. "A rather high turnout of around 300 people was noted at the ultra-left demonstration on 17 November in Prague convened under the name 'Dignity, Housing, Income'," says the report.

"Part of the anarchist scene has found an opportunity to apply itself by participating in activities and support for the Most District Solidarity Network (Mostecká solidární síť - MSS) and for Solis Praha. The aim of these entities is to draw attentoin to the alleged wrongdoing by employers against employees (e.g., alleged non-payment of wages)," says the report, noting an action against the Prague restaurant Řízkárna, where some employees were not being paid.

MSS convened protests at the restaurant and police intervened against those participating. The ministry says these are activists, often from ultra-left environments, who do their best to present themselves as an alternative to both non-state and state institutions.

"Demand for the 'services' of such entities has grown. It may be that this group is now testing a strategy against smaller businesses that could then be applied against a larger number of businesses," the report says.

"Speaking hyperbolically, the fact that activities on behalf of working people who have been harmed are now being monitored by the authorities is a testament to their success," a participant in the action against the Řízkárna restaurant told news server Romea.cz. The ministerial report also called the occupation of the "Clinic" on 3 December in the Žižkov quarter of Prague an action by the extreme left.  

"During December there were actions expressing solidarity and support for the Clinic initiative, and not just in Prague, after the allegedly brutal clearance of the building by the Police of the Czech Republic. A demonstration in Prague on 13 December was attended by roughly 700 people. The scandal also sparked discussion for a certain time on the possible full or partial legalization of squatting," says the report, warning that there was an attempt to set a police vehicle on fire in connection with the Clinic.

"The 'Anarchist Solidarity Action' took responsibility for that deed and its performance sparked a postive response from radical activists in particular. The Clinic initiative distanced itself from it," says the report. 

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Tags:  

Extremism, Islamofobie, Ministertsvo vnitra, Racism



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