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Czech Police prepare for ultra-right party to exploit anti-crime march

Dřevnovice (Prostějov district), 14.9.2012 22:15, (ROMEA)

Police officers and the leadership of the town of Dřevnovice (Prostějov district) are preparing for a march against crime scheduled there for tomorrow. Police say they cannot rule out the possibility that extremists will participate in the event. In recent weeks, tensions between local Romani people and ethnic Czechs have risen in the community, but Mayor Bohumila Charvátová (independent) told the Czech Press Agency today that a certain degree of calm has been established during the last few days.

Tomorrow's march was convened by a local citizen and will leave from the local playground at 14:00. The entire event should last not quite one hour.

"I can neither confirm nor rule out the possibility that sympathizers of the right-wing extremist Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) might attend the march. We will respond appropriately with respect to the number of people participating in the march as it goes along in order to ensure the safety of the population and protection for their property," Michaela Sedláčková, Police Coordinator for Minorities, told the Czech Press Agency today. For tactical reasons, she did not say how many police officers would be on the scene. However, she said she believed the measures will not have to be as extensive as they were last June in Přerov, when roughly 200 right-wing radicals marched through that town. The daily Prostějovský deník has reported that promoters of the DSSS are calling for people to attend the event through Facebook.

Mayor Charvátová will also observe the march. "Should illegal behavior be committed, I will immediately shut down the event and police will take action," the mayor said. Police prepared for the event at a meeting together with local residents. "They calmed residents' fears and assured them police officers will be on the scene. They also familiarized the residents with security rules and with how to prevent possible conflicts," the mayor said.

Tensions between Romani people and ethnic Czechs have reigned not only in Dřevnovice in recent weeks, but also in nearby Dobromilice, where a local militia is even in operation. The leadership of that community has drafted a new ordinance on maintaining public order and plans to install a closed circuit TV system on the streets.

"No one is planning to establish a militia for the time being in our town," said Mayor Charvátová . "However, within the framework of our micro-region, we would like to discuss the option of establishing a local police force. We should also increase pressure on our MPs not to cut police funding," she said.

Approximately 40 Romani people live in Dřevnovice, including a family with many members who moved into the community several years ago after the Mayor of Vsetín, Jiří Čunek (Christian Democrats - KDU-ČSL) "deported" them from his town. Locals say the greatest difficulties are with that particular family, who have not yet become a part of the community.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Zdeněk Ryšavý, Czech Press Agency, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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