Czech Police apprehend suspected perpetrators who spray-painted Nazi symbols on venues supporting Government's HateFree campaign
Police officers have accused five youths of spray-painting cafés and shops involved in the Czech Government's Hate Free campaign with Nazi symbols and threatening messages this spring. Those accused face up to three years in prison for property damage and showing sympathy for a movement aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms.
The vandals spray-painted the vestibule of the metro station at Karlovo náměstí in Prague in addition to other establishments. Czech Police spokesperson Tomáš Hulan informed the Czech News Agency of the developments in the case today.
The defamatory messages appeared during the night of 23 April and early morning hours of 24 April on the facades of several businesses involved with the Government's Hate Free campaign. Those targeted for attack were, for example, firms on Jiřího z Poděbrad Square and on Francouzská and Vinohradská Streets.
The perpetrators spray-painted "Death to Hate Free" (Smrt Hate Free) and neo-Nazi symbols on the businesses. "The perpetrators created drawings that included symbols and texts that have been assessed by experts in the field. In their assessments, they have arrived at the conclusion that the content is a display of sympathy for a neo-Nazi movement that unequivocally does exist and that espouses the legacy of the Third Reich of the German nation, or of Nazi Germany," Hulan said.
The Hate Free Culture Initiative of the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion is supported from EU funds and Norway Grants and is running for three years. Its aim is to respond to displays of hatred online and in ordinary life.
The symbol of Hate Free is a pink sticker with white lettering that businesses involved in the campaign put on their display windows or doors. The vandals chose places apparently exactly because the business owners took a stand and promoted the Hate Free slogan, which is understood to indicate tolerance for minorities or refugees.
According to Hulan, two of the youths accused of involvement also smashed up a display window and other equipment belonging to an establishment in the Břevnov neighborhood of Prague. He said their motivation was hatred for the religious inscriptions on the frontage of the establishment.
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