Czech President Zeman: Neo-Nazi demonstrations must be broken up at the start
In an interview for the Czech News Agency today, Czech President Miloš Zeman said there is a need for much more intensive, repressive prosecution of neo-Nazi manifestations. He was responding to, among other things, the recent unrest at the Máj housing estate in the town of České Budějovice which has resulted in anti-Romani assemblies and marches by right-wing radicals, as well as other manifestations by the promoters of neo-Nazism in other parts of the country.
"The only way forward is active repression. That means breaking up their demonstrations at the start, breaking up their pseudo-concerts where they give the Nazi salute, confiscating the small shops where Nazi badges are sold, etc., etc. That, in my opinion, is an effective route to take," Zeman said.
The president said he believes attempts to re-educate the people involved will have little effect. "Re-educating the skinhead, even though I wish it could be done, is not an effective route to take, because you can only re-educate someone whose brain contains a sufficient number of connections. Not all of the skinheads have that equipment," Zeman said.
The president added that he had already expressed his views on the problem of neo-Nazis during his inaugural speech and during his commemorative speech at Lidice this year. "I said the words 'Bohemia for the Czechs' are remarkably reminiscent of the slogan 'Juden raus'... By coincidence, in České Budějovice the slogan 'Bohemia for the Czechs' was heard several times, so you could even say I responded pre-emptively. I am of the opinion that there is a need for much more intensive, repressive prosecution of these neo-Nazi street fighters," he said.
The situation at the Máj housing estate has been tense for almost a month now. Anti-Romani demonstrations or marches on the housing estate have been held every weekend for the last four weekends in České Budějovice.
Dozens of people have been detained during street brawls with police there. Hundreds of riot units have been deployed to each event.
Police have charged 10 people so far in relation to the unrest at the housing estate, while two more will be brought up on misdemeanor charges before the municipal administration department. The conflicts there began with a dispute between children on a playground which was subsequently joined by several adults.
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