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Czech Republic: 2 000 people say "We are all gypsies"

Prague, 1.10.2012 17:39, (ROMEA)

Around 2 000 young people marched through Prague on Saturday under the slogan "We are all gypsies" to express their general dissatisfaction with society and protest the spread of neo-Nazism. Andrea Zoulová, spokesperson for the Prague Police, reported on the event to the Mediafax agency.

"A so-called DIY KARNEVAL 2012, which includes an announced march, is taking place in the capital," Zoulová said on Saturday afternoon. "The organizers have abandoned their original plan to march all the way to the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic, so the march will be somewhat shorter."

The march was led by a vehicle covered with photographs of politicians and a sign reading "Did somewhere here say 'circus'?" ("Říkal tady někdo cirkus?"). Other vehicles were decorated like pirate ships or ambulances. Music amplifiers were set up on the backs of open truck beds and people danced alongside the slowly-moving cars or walked with their bicycles, dogs and prams. The carnival also included concerts by musician Mário Bihári and DJ Gadjo.cz at the Cross Club. Many of those attending wore costumes representing nurses, police officers or skeletons. The rainy afternoon did not spoil their mood.

"Given that quite a bit of their planned route might influence security and traffic flow, the Prague Police have reinforced both the riot police and the traffic police," the police spokesperson said on Saturday. Police officers accompanied the march the whole time and monitored all of the other related events in cooperation with other special police units.

Police estimate the event was attended by about 2 000 people and 15 floats. "Police officers have only had to address one misdemeanor violation of public order," Zoulová said.

"We are all gypsies, not because of our skin color, but because of our willingness to stand up for those subjected to injustice. We are all gypsies because we too have often encountered the prejudice of mainstream society and the media, police brutality and harassment, and the arbitrary theft committed by collections agents. We are gypsies because we have chosen our attitude to life, we have voluntarily decided in favor of a lifestyle and opinions that cause others to reject us. This makes it even more appropriate for us to express our solidarity with those who are rejected because of their skin color, over which they have no control," the organizers of this year's carnival wrote on their website at www.fnf.cz (in Czech only).

The tradition of these carnivals began in reaction to the scandal around the CzechTek festival in 2005, when police brutally intervened against those attending that outdoor event. The Do It Yourself Carnival is supposed to present a bias-free view of this particular youth subculture to the public.The ninth annual carnival was originally scheduled for Friday, 28 September this year, but organizers moved it to Saturday the 29th in order to support those among them to wanted to counter-protest Friday's march by right-wing radicals in Kralupy nad Vltavou.

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