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Czech Republic: 200 gather for anti-Romani demonstration, Roma assemble as well

Děčín, 13.8.2014 18:58, (ROMEA)
Romani people and others gathered on 13 August 2014 in front of the residential hotel on Zelená Street in Děčín to protest the anti-Romani assembly convened by con artist Lukáš Kohout. (PHOTO:  Lukáš Matoška)
Romani people and others gathered on 13 August 2014 in front of the residential hotel on Zelená Street in Děčín to protest the anti-Romani assembly convened by con artist Lukáš Kohout. (PHOTO: Lukáš Matoška)

Today in the Czech town of Děčín an anti-Romani demonstration was held by Lukáš Kohout, who has been convicted several times of fraud. The Facebook event announcing the demonstration garnered almost 500 pledges to attend.  

Around 200 people total eventually gathered on the town square. News server followed the situation in Děčín online in real time.  



21:50 - Police ultimately filed criminal charges against two participants in the anti-Romani demonstration. One is facing charges of making criminal threats, another with defamation on the basis of conviction, nation or race. "They were originally detained for misdemeanors, but after evaluating the evidence, they were charged in an accelerated proceedings, one with making criminal threats, the other with defamation on the basis of conviction, nation or race," said police press spokeperson Veronika Hyšplerová.

18:58 - Police have confirmed to news server that they have intervened on Zelená Street. "Roughly 20 people set off for the residential hotel on Zelená Street. Police officers arrested two persons and took them to the police station on suspicion of misdemeanor offenses against civil coexistence and misdemeanor disturbance of public order," police press spokesperson Veronika tells news server "At this moment it is calm in front of the residential hotel, but police will continue to monitor the situation."

18:31 - All is reportedly calm at the other residential hotels in Děčín. "For the time being no attacks have been reported," an activist in Děčín tells news server

18:30 - Several right-wing radicals have made it to Zelená Street where one of the residential hotels in Děčín is located. "Neo-Nazis on Zelená Street are shouting threats at the Roma, police are intervening against the neo-Nazis," the Konexe organization reports on its Facebook profile.

18:00 - The situation in Děčín is calm.

17:49 - We know why Lukáš Kohout didn't have a sound system. News server has been informed that he has become the victim of fraud. We will report more in a separate article.

17:23 - About 50 people have arrived at the Calipso bar, the situation is calm. The anti-conflict team and police officers are at the scene.

17:11 - We are informed that the small group of 20 neo-Nazis has grown and about 50 people are heading for the Calipso bar and the residential hotel on Zelená Street.

17:01 - A cluster of about 30 people are remaining in front of the town hall. About 20 neo-Nazis have set out down Čs. legií Street.

16:48 - The demonstration is officially over.

16:38 - Five people from the crowd are supposed to participate in negotiations with Mayor František Pelanta. The demonstrating is ending, Lukáš Kohout is speaking once more.

16:30 - It's raining. People are leaving the square.

16:20 - Police officers have assured the occupants of the residential hotel on Zelená Street that the demostrators will not be allowed any further than the Calipso bar, which is about 200 meters away from the residential hotel. "Police officers have called on the people who are in front of the residential hotel to refrain from any kind of provocation or abuse of the demonstrators," our correspondent on the scene reports.

16:19 - It has been officially announced that there will not be a march. The conveners of the event have reportedly reached an agreement on that with representatives of the municipality and police. "Reportedly violence would have occurred," says our correspondent, quoting the reasons given for cancelling the march. In his opinion it is possible that some people will march despite the cancellation.

16:13 - Everything is calm in front of the residential hotel on Zelená Street. "The adult occupants are outside, the children are inside and are not being allowed out. Their parents have forbidden it," our correspondent reports from the scene.

16:12 - Individuals in the mob are shouting racist abuse:  "A gypsy's not a person, a gypsy is a thing!" Someone responds by saying Romani people should work, for example, by paving the sidewalks. "Let's pave the sidewalks with gypsies," the mob shouts.

16:10 - The mayor of Děčín says he is a supporter of the citizens of the town and of the people on the square, but that the law makes it possible for "inadaptable citizens" to migrate and people evidently offer them apartments to move into.

16:08 - Lukáš Kohout has called on Mayor František Pelanta to join the demonstrators. The mayor is now addressing the crowd. Some people are shouting and whistling at him.

16:06 - Lukáš Kohout and Petr Žák are standing on an improvised podium provided by a small "garbage truck" bearing a sign that reads we "We don't want Děčín to become Chanov" [i.e., a Romani-occupied housing estate.]. On the side of the "truck" are the names of towns where pogroms against Romani people have been attempted in the past, such as Duchcov, Janov, Litvínov, etc.

15:58 - Con artist Lukáš Kohout is speaking on the square but has no microphone and practically no one can hear him. Next to him is standing  Petr Žák, who ran for the Svobodné (Free People) party in the last elections to the lower house. Now he is a candidate for the Děčín town council. "It looks like an election campaign, nothing more than that," our correspondent reports.

15:45 - There are about 50 people in front of the residential hotel on Zelená Street. They are there to support the local Romani community.

15:44 - About 200 people have gathered on the square in Děčín, of whom about 40 seem to be neo-Nazis.

15:00 - For the time being there is no indication that any massive anti-Romani demonstration will be taking place in Děčín. "I just saw several vans of riot police here, otherwise the situation is completely standard. Nothing is going on here," our correspondent at the scene reports.

14:30 - Police are preparing for this event as they always do. "We are deploying dozens of police officers in our security measures. There will be special forces units and regional riot control units from the Děčín department here. An important role will once again be played by an anti-conflict team, who will intensively communicate with the participants in the assembly and prevent any possibly violent conflicts," says police spokesperson Veronika Hyšplerová, adding that police will monitor the assembly and be prepared to intervene should public order be disturbed.     

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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