Czech local council welcomes ultra-right into government, PM closes its SocDem cell in response
The local organization of the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) in the town of Duchcov (Teplice district) has agreed to a coalition government of the town council with the right-wing extremist Workers Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS). Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, the ČSSD head, said the party's national leadership has distanced itself from the local coalition.
ČSSD is planning to close its Duchcov cell. The local coalition government is also slated to include the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM).
Sobotka: No coalition with racists
"I was greatly surprised and I believe this is an unnecessary stain on the reputation of social democracy. Of course we will not form a coalition with extremists and racists, not in Duchcov and not in any other town or village," Sobotka told the press.
The PM said he believes the course of action taken by the local party organization undermines the position of the national ČSSD leadership and that of the party's regional organization. He is reportedly concerned about the situation and also said the national leadership would be discussing it on Friday.
Sobotka noted that the local party organization in Duchcov would be closed in accordance with its statutes. No one has confirmed whether the ČSSD, DSSS and KSČM have signed a coalition agreement there.
According to the available information, Jindřich Svoboda, a man who has convened anti-Romani demonstrations in the town and who led the DSSS candidate list in the recent local elections is now slated to sit on the town council. He has a criminal record for committing fraud after he wrongly claimed reimbursement for travel to Prague for medical treatment from his insurance company.
"Massacre the Roma"
Last year the DSSS organized anti-Romani demonstrations in Duchcov. Two of its representatives, Jan Dufek and Svoboda, who chairs the local DSSS cell, incited others to murder Romani people during those events.
At the end of a public discussion with citizens about the situation in the town, anti-racist activist Míra Brož of the Konexe association told Dufek and Svoboda: "Really, gentlemen, every march escalates things and makes them worse." Dufek's response, captured on video, was: "That's good, at least the people will finally rise up and murder them all."
From this statement it follows that Dufek and Svoboda convened the anti-Romani demonstrations with the intention of deteriorating and exacerbating the situation to such a degree that local Czechs would begin to murder their Romani neighbors. While Dufek made his statement on camera, his colleague Svoboda had expressed the same sentiments even earlier on his own Facebook profile: "So finally it's out! The secret video of the assault in Duchcov! Those black fuckers! They should all be massacred! How much longer will we tolerate this? I propose that it is time to unite and fucking give them what for! I'm going to go throw up and then I'm going to sharpen my knives...."
According to the Antifa organization, "Dufek is a longtime neo-Nazi activist. He has been previously convicted of giving the Nazi salute, weapons possession without a permit, and welfare fraud. He has reportedly also previously participated, along with a larger group of people, in attacking a group of Romani people in Slovakia. While standing on the main square in the town of Krupina there, he first insulted Romani people, gave the Nazi salute, threatened to shoot them in the head, and then physically assaulted them."
The anti-Romani mood and protests flared up in Duchcov last year after several Romani people attacked a non-Romani married couple on the street there. This past March a court handed down sentences against the five people involved, ranging from one year's probation to three years in prison.
According to the verdict, the assault was not racially motivated. The DSSS protest action last June ended in clashes with police.
This past May, Czech Human Rights Minister Jiří Dienstbier (ČSSD) visited Duchcov. In his view, the problem there is that communication between local nonprofit organizations and the town hall is not working.
Local organizations could help address the situation and integrate people now on the fringes of society there. The Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion was also active in Duchcov a couple of years ago.
At the start of 2011, the Agency brought its collaboration with the town to an end ahead of schedule after the local council decided to privatize its apartment stock. The Agency feared the privatization would deteriorate the situation of those living in the housing and that many of them might end up on the street.
The DSSS is the successor to the Workers Party (DS), which was dissolved by the Czech Supreme Administrative Court (Nejvyšší správní soud - NSS) in February 2010. The NSS ruled that the DS was a populist party espousing Hitlerite National Socialism and modern neo-Nazism, that it was chauvinistic in the sense that its tenets involved a belief in the superiority of one's own nation, that it was anti-Semitic, racist, and xenophobic with respect to immigrants, Romani people, and especially Vietnamese people, and that it was also homophobic.
The aim of the DS, according to the NSS, was to eliminate the democratic basis of the Czech state and introduce a totalitarian regime - in other words, the DS was a completely Nazi party, just like the ones we already know of from the time of Hitler's National Socialism during the first half of the 20th century. Today the DSSS is controlled by the very same individuals who ran the DS.
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