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Czech Interior Ministry: Number of public extremist events rises sharply

Prague, 3.5.2012 23:58, (ROMEA)
DSSS demonstrators, 1 May 2012, Prague, Czech Republic.

The number of publicly convened extremist events significantly rose in the Czech Republic during 2011. While in the year 2010 authorities recorded 80 such public events, last year there were 123 events organized by right-wing extremists. Those are the findings of a report on the domestic security situation in the Czech Republic for last year which was discussed by the Government today. Czech Interior Ministry spokesperson Pavel Novák informed the Czech Press Agency of the findings.

Compared to the year 2010, this was a marked increase testifying to the growing activity of extremist groups. According to the report, the extremists are also further radicalizing. The total number of crimes committed in this area has not increased year-on-year, but the number of violent crimes with an extremist subtext has increased.

According to the Czech Interior Ministry, local extremist cells are working in the Czech Republic and developing their own activities; these people eventually "aspire to attempts at direct action". Radicals are also using blogs, discussion fora and social networking sites to disseminate their ideas more than they have in the past. They are also using the internet to convene their meetings.

The main representatives of right-wing extremism remain the Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) and its youth organization, the Workers' Youth (Dělnická mládež - DM). Just like last year (2011), this year the DSSS party has been exploiting incidents allegedly involving members of the Romani community to mobilize broader support. For quite some time, they have made an obvious effort to criminalize the Romani community as a whole. The rally of the DSSS in Varnsdorf held on 29 January confirms that the party is capable of speaking to at least part of the dissatisfied population through these topics. They then exploit these assemblies for demonstrations of that support, thanks in part to intensive media coverage of them. The organization of these events is a pivotal component of the presentation of the party's regional branches, as could be seen at the public discussion held in Rotava on 28 January, which was perceived as a failure by the DSSS leadership due to the low attendance of people who were not right-wing extremists. During January 2012, attempts were made repeatedly to exploit anti-Romani sentiment in Šluknov district in connection with an incident that occurred there on 31 December and the subsequent death of a woman who had been attacked.

However, despite all of this, the report says the Czech ultra-right nationalist scene finds itself attenuated, as it lacks both a long-term concept and long-term financing. It is not succeeding in attracting new members.

František Bikár, ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Press Agency, brf, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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