Czech Republic: 500 at anti-Roma demo, police keep neo-Nazis from attacking
In the Czech town of Duchcov (Teplice district) about 500 people demonstrated in response to an attack perpetrated by a group of Romani people against a young non-Romani married couple in mid-May. Police have already charged five assailants with grievous bodily harm in the case.
After the assembly ended, some demonstrators heading for a Romani-occupied neighborhood. Police blocked their way and organizers called on them to disperse. Police eventually intervened and arrested two demonstrators.
The anti-Roma meeting was convened by three local people and was called a "Gathering of Dissatisfied Citizens". "I don't know what to expect. I am afraid there will not be any room for discussion today," said Mayor of Duchcov Jitka Bártová prior to the gathering, which she later addressed.
One hour before the protest was scheduled to begin, local Romani residents also gathered to pray for peace and quiet. "It takes two to fight," the clergyman leading the prayer reminded them.
The gatherings were convened in response to the 18 May assault. Police say the incident was preceded by an attempted bicycle theft during which the bike owner was injured. The same assailants then attacked the young married couple on their way home from the discotheque, kicking and punching them. A court later refused to remand the five charged suspects into custody.
Police are also investigating events that followed the assault. They are interested in how video footage of the incident recorded by municipal cameras was leaked, how a local municipal patrolman behaved during the incident, and in internet discussions conducted by Jindřich Svoboda, one of the conveners of the assembly, in which he called for all Romani people to be massacred.
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