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Czech report on extremism for last year: 307 events, anti-refugee protests replaced anti-Romani ones

8.5.2016 16:59
Approximately 40 people assembled on 26 September 2015 for the traditional neo-Nazi demonstration marking St. Václav's Day in Ostrava, Czech Republic. (PHOTO:  Romea.cz)
Approximately 40 people assembled on 26 September 2015 for the traditional neo-Nazi demonstration marking St. Václav's Day in Ostrava, Czech Republic. (PHOTO: Romea.cz)

Czech extremists held 307 events last year, 16 more than in 2014. They assembled most frequently in Prague, and police reported protests outside of facilities for foreign nationals as a new phenomenon.

The main theme of the extremist groups across the political spectrum was migration. Crimes with an extremist subtext were committed most frequently by persons whose highest level of education was an apprenticeship after completing the ninth grade.

Those are the findings of a Czech Interior Ministry report to be reviewed by the cabinet during its Wednesday session that has been seen by the Czech News Agency. The current summary report gives slightly lower numbers for the total number of extremist events than the last quarterly report for 2015, which spoke of 323 extremist events last year.

The ultra-left, according to the final information, assembled for 141 events while the extreme right gathered for 106. Anti-Islam and anti-migrant groups convened another 60 assemblies during 2015.

In addition to the capital, the most significant meetings were held in Brno, České Budějovice, Ostrava and Plzeň. The main theme of all politically-motivated extremist groups last year was migration.

"Protest events were not reported in the so-called socially excluded localities or against national minorities. That topic was absolutely replaced by responses to the so-called refugee crisis," the report notes.

As the Interior Ministry has previously reported, police recorded 175 crimes with an extremist subtext during last year, 26 less than the year before. Most were committed in the Moravian-Silesian Region and in Prague, while police reported none from the Pardubice Region.

The biggest year-on-year growth in such crimes last year happened in Zlín Region. Overall a total of 114 crimes were solved and 154 people charged.

The perpetrators of extremist crime most frequently have earned apprenticeship certificates after completing the ninth grade, followed by those who completed ninth grade without ever being certified for apprenticeship. The report also recapitulates the information that the National Democracy party noted a growth in support last year after collaborating with other anti-Islamic and anti-migration entities.

The DSSS party lost significance last year. Anti-Islam and anti-migration entities, according to the authors of the report, distanced themselves from the traditional ultra-right movements and enjoyed support from sympathizers of extremist groups nonetheless.

"In addition to extremist sympathizers, however, these entities managed to capture the support of some of the broader public with their pronounced opinions about migration, those who would avoid supporting the ultra-right," the document reads. "Their methods for mobilizing adherents do not differ from the methods used by extremist platforms. This is especially true of their inciting subjective feelings of danger and threat on the basis of information that is, in isolated examples, absolutely false, and that otherwise generally involves misinterpretations and tendentiousness."

On the ultra-left, the anarchist movement remains the most active. In 2015 the movement mobilized not just against the growth in anti-migration groups' public approval ratings, but also against the Czech Police's "Operation Phoenix", which targeted people suspected of involvement in a group called the Network of Revolutionary Cells.

Last year the Network claimed responsibility for eight arson attacks. Also typical of 2015 was the activity of protest initiatives focused on criticizing the Czech Republic's membership in the EU and NATO and criticizing post-1989 developments in the country.

"For various reasons, these platforms frequently inclined toward sympathy for - bordering on uncritical adoration of - the Russian Federation and President Putin. Very often they aided with the dissemination of Russian propaganda," the report concludes. 

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Anticiganismus, Demonstrace, Extremism, Islám, Migrace, Ministertsvo vnitra, Racism, refugee, Xenophobia, zpráva



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