Czech Republic: Anarchists in Prague protest police raid and war
More than 200 anarchists marched through Prague on 1 May from the Shooter's Island (Střelecký ostrov) in the Vltava River to náměstí Míru (Square of Peace). The event was a protest against a nationwide police raid against extremists this week and against war.
The police operation targeted left-wing radicals who have allegedly perpetrated at least five arson attacks, including setting police cars on fire. The anarchists reject the charges and claim they are being targeted by police for repression.
The march set out through the center of the capital just after 14:00. The marchers passed down Národní třída to Karlovo Square and then up the hill to náměstí Míru in Prague's Vinohrady neighborhood.
Those leading the procession carried a banner reading "War on War" (Válku válce). Before the march the anarchists gave several speeches on the island criticizing politicians and "societal elites".
Speakers also mentioned the military conflict in Ukraine. "We are on neither side. We will not engage in hatred of ordinary Americans or of ordinary Russians. Our anger is about the powerful," one speaker said.
Russian anarchists also participated in the event. "War is one of capitalism's tools for spreading hatred among people. Wars are started by politicians, but it's the ordinary people who die in them," a Russian anarchist said.
The anarchists also criticized the Czech police raid in recent days and called it a display of repression. "We will not be intimidated. They are even calling us terrorists," one of them shouted into the megaphone.
Officers intervened in several places across the country on Tuesday. The court has remanded three of the six people charged into custody.
The state attorney has not clarified what the legal qualification of the crimes at issue will be because the investigation is ongoing. According to news server Lidovky.cz, the police operation targeted left-wing radicals whom police believe have committed at least five arson attacks.
The anarchists have allegedly set fire to police cars, to one police station, and to a toll gate. "The network of revolutionary cells has been calling for these attacks through a publicly accessible website since at least January 2014... through these published declarations it has taken responsibility for five case of property damage so far," according to police documents.
Left-wing organizations have rejected the charges. Activists from the Klinika Autonomous Social Center in the Žižkov quarter of Prague published a statement on their Facebook profile calling the police raid a "monumental action with imprecise charges that are all the more serious for being unclear" and the height of police efforts to intimidate them.
During Tuesday's raid the Organized Crime Detection Unit found an extremely dangerous object in the Brno-Královo Pole neighborhood but did not clarify what it was. The Czech News Agency reported that it was an improvised explosive device in one unit of an apartment building.
Four people had to temporarily leave their dwellings because of the discovery. Police also raided the Ateneo Community Center in the town of Most, which holds discussion evenings and film screenings; both plainclothes police and uniformed officers were involved.
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