Czech Police charge two participants in anti-Romani demonstration in Děčín
Police have charged two participants in today's anti-Romani demonstration in Děčín. One faces charges of making criminal threats, while the other is charged with defamation on the basis of convictions, a nation or a race.
The Czech News Agency reports that police spokesperson Veronika Hyšplerová has announced the charges. A small group of about 20 people set out for the residential hotel on Zelená Street, in front of which an anti-racist assembly was taking place.
Some participants in the demonstration first headed for the Calipso bar, where a brawl took place at the end of July in which a man was seriously injured. That incident was the reason Lukáš Kohout, who has been convicted more than once of fraud, convened today's assembly in the town.
"About 20 people then set out for the residential hotel on Zelená Street," Hyšplerová told the Czech News Agency. The Konexe organization had previously announced that its assembly against racism would take place on that street.
"The group [of neo-Nazis] stood at the street corner and shouted hate slogans. One of them shouted that they would set the place on fire. Police intervened right when the racist abuse began," Miroslav Brož of Konexe, who witnessed the incident, told the Czech News Agency.
The police detained two men and took them to the police station. "They were originally detained for misdemeanors, but after evaluating the evidence, they were charged in an accelerated proceedings, one with making criminal threats, the other with defamation on the basis of convictions, nation or race," said police press spokeperson Veronika Hyšplerová.
Police did not receive reports of any other incidents. About 200 people had come to the demonstration in front of the Děčín town hall in the afternoon.
Kohout, however, decided not to march through the town as originally planned. Mayor of Děčín František Pelant (Czech Social Democrats - ČSSD) spent more than half an hour in discussion with those attending the demonstration.
Communication with the crowd, however, was very complicated because the speakers did not have sound system. News server Romea.cz has reported that Kohout was duped by someone posing as a sound engineer who never delivered; online communications between him and the person who tricked him were posted to the Facebook page of the HateFree Culture group.
Police deployed dozens of people, including riot police units, to the streets of the town today. The anti-Romani demonstration had been convened in response to an incident that took place at the end of July in front of the Calipso gaming room.
Two small groups of people got into a conflict there. The scuffle ended with one man being seriously injured.
The most brutal assailant involved faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of grievous bodily harm, rioting, and failing to come to someone's aid. The court has already remanded him into custody and two other participants were charged by detectives at the end of last week with rioting and failing to come to someone's aid.
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