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Czech Republic: 150 neo-Nazis marched through Kladno yesterday

Kladno, 25.9.2011 12:20, (ROMEA)

Yesterday afternoon about 150 neo-Nazis met up in Kladno for their annual "St. Wenceslas" ("Svatý Václav") demonstration. Participants expressed their disagreement with the current political situation and the level of crime in the country. After introductory speeches they marched through the town for about one hour. The event was overseen by about 150 police officers and took place without incident.

Demonstrators gathered after 14:00 by the Kokos building on Sítná square. They carried banners reading "For National Identity and Social Justice" and "The Government of Money Means the End of Traditions" as well as flags with symbols of the Czech state.

One speaker said the aim of the gathering was to honor the memory of St Wenceslas, whose official saint's day falls on 28 September, a national holiday in the Czech Republic called "Czech Statehood Day" (Den české státnosti). The speaker alleged that because of a "tug-of-war with the authorities", organizers were forced to hold their demonstration yesterday instead of on the actual holiday and said the town hall had forbidden the demonstrators from walking in the middle of the road, calling the restriction an attempt "to trip us up".

Roughly 15 minutes later, the ultra-right radicals marched to the Rozdělov neighborhood accompanied by 10 police cars. They shouted slogans such as "St Wenceslas", "The Czech Republic is a police state" and "The police state won't let us sleep". When the marchers passed by a Vietnamese-owned shop, they chanted "We don't want multi-culti".

Senior citizens in particular watched the march with disapproval. One passer-by yelled at the marchers that if it were up to him, he would make the organizers pay for the cost of the police presence.

Jabuk Vinčálek, spokesperson for the Central Bohemian Police, told journalists on the scene that special forces units of the Central Bohemian Police, the Alien Police, police dogs, anti-conflict team officers and detectives had been deployed in addition to Kladno Municipal Police. For tactical reasons, he did not want to reveal their numbers. "Not a single misdemeanor has been reported," he added.

The town hall originally could not permit the march because the organizer of a separate event had reserved the spot first. The ultra-right radicals then changed the route of their march so their demonstration could proceed.

Ultra-right extremists in Kladno organized the first such event in 2005. Last year they had to move their demonstration to the nearby town of Unhošt because political parties in Kladno had reserved most of the public spaces there for their electoral campaigns. Last year only about 50 ultra-right radicals participated in the march. There were no incidents.

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