Czech Republic: Almost 300 people protest against 150 neo-Nazis in Kralupy nad Vltavou
Today in the Czech town of Kralupy nad Vltavou roughly 150 neo-Nazis gathered for the eighth year in a row for their annual "St. Václav Day Demonstration" and clashed with approximately 300 counter-demonstrators in the town center. The marchers and counter-demonstrators ended up on either side of a stream and several dozen riot police intervened at the scene. The Czech Press Agency reports that glass bottles were thrown and firecrackers exploded. No injuries have been reported. After an hour, the march ended in the middle of a housing estate without further incident.
The demonstration was convened by neo-Nazis. Shortly after 14:00, they set out from the train station toward the center of town, accompanied by police, and crossed a bridge on their way to a housing estate. As the march was leaving the bridge, eyewitnesses described glass bottles, apples, and even bags of excrement flying through the air from the other side of the stream where their opponents had gathered. Police intervened against those opposing the neo-Nazis and dispersed them.
"Unfortunately, the route of the event was planned so that at one particular place there was contact between the two groups, who exchanged words, and several bottles were thrown. However, the police officers succeeded in calming the situation," said Václav Tichý, spokesperson for the police in Mělník.
On the counter-protesters' side of the stream, a "happening" was organized featuring music, banners with slogans signed by the Antifa movement, and various signs posted on the sidewalks, the bridge, and buildings expressing disagreement with the neo-Nazi march. On one building a large sign read "Kralupy against neo-Nazism". Those attending the event were prevented from accessing the right-wing radicals by officers on horseback and riot police. A police helicopter flew overhead the entire time.
The neo-Nazis shouted various slogans as they marched to the housing estate, such as "Freedom!", "Nothing but the nation!", and "We don't want multiculturalism!" They officially ended the march before 15:00 with a speech. Police supervised the right-wing radicals' return to the train station as well. Despite the efforts of small groups of masked young people to attack the neo-Nazis once again near the bridge, both gatherings ended without any other problems.
The initiative against the neo-Nazis in Kralupy was also supported by celebrities such as the actors Aňa Geislerová and Arnošt Goldflam, the bands Čokovoko and Pipes and Pints, the rapper Bonus, and the local association of the Czech Union of Freedom Fighters (Český svaz bojovníků za svobodu). "We must say NO to neo-Nazism always and everywhere that it tries to show up and manifest itself. We will never let them have their way again. I too am shouting NO!" Geislerová said.
The first demonstration by right-wing radicals on St. Václav's Day was held in 2005 in Kladno. Last year was the first time it was held in a different town.
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