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Czech Republic: Another bomb threat against the Klinka Social Center, police search building without evacuating it

29.5.2016 10:35
Boards over the broken display window at the Klinika Social Center in the  Žižkov quarter of Prague. The photograph was taken on 7 February 2016. On Saturday, 6 February 2016,  a group of about 20 masked persons attacked the center in the evening with flares and rocks. (PHOTO:  František Kostlán)
Boards over the broken display window at the Klinika Social Center in the Žižkov quarter of Prague. The photograph was taken on 7 February 2016. On Saturday, 6 February 2016, a group of about 20 masked persons attacked the center in the evening with flares and rocks. (PHOTO: František Kostlán)

On 27 May an anonymous e-mailer threatened to detonate a bomb at the Klinika Autonomous Social Center in the Žižkov quarter of Prague for the third time in seven days. Klinika activists reported the threat on their Facebook profile.

Czech Police spokesperson Andrea Zoulová confirmed the threat to the Czech media. "A bomb has again been announced at Klinika. The State Police promise they will hand the building over to us this time. Despite this promise, whoever can come support us should do so in order to be certain," the activists posted online at around 17:00 CET on 27 May.

A police spokesperson subsequently confirmed that the building would not be evacuated as it had been during the previous two bomb threats. "An as-yet unidentified perpetrator sent an e-mail just after 16:00 announcing there is a bomb in the building on Jeseniova Street," Zoulová confirmed to news server Lidovky.cz.

"There will be a search for explosives and the building will then be handed over to an authorized person," she said. Activists later confirmed that the action took place peacefully.

"The police officers searched the building without any problem and left. Apparently we have finally succeeded in establishing a civilized method for addressing these absurd bomb threats," Klinika posted to Facebook.

"Given that an investigation is underway and we are searching for the perpetrators, I cannot give you details about the actual content of the threats. However, I can say that they differed from the previous ones. This time the threat did not contain any specific information about the time the bomb might explode," Zoulová explained when asked by Lidovky.cz why the police proceeded differently this time.

City Councillor:  Klinika building isn't safe, we shouldn't let people in

Politicians also met to discuss Klinika this week. Prague City Hall has expressed interest in acquiring the property.

The state's dislocation commission, set to meet about the building next week, must first make it available to other state institutions for 15 days. Radek Ležatka, spokesperson for the Office for Government Representation in Property Affairs (ÚZSVM), which owns the building, said the city could apply for ownership of the property at that time.

The acquisition of Klinika by Prague City Hall was part of the negotiations to renew the city's governing coalition there. According to City Councilor Karel Grabein Procházka (ANO), who focuses on city asset management, the building is not safe.

If the city were to acquire it, people would not be able to remain on the premises during the reconstruction. "I wanted to know from the ÚZSVM first and foremost what the options are for the future and to inform myself as to the current state of the property," Procházka said after meeting with the state body.

The city can either buy the building or trade another property for it. After the acquisition the city wants to offer the property to the nonprofit sector for lease.

Earlier last week Procházka said squatters might be able to remain in the building until its reconstruction begins. He has now reversed himself after meeting with the current owner.

"We wouldn't be able to allow anyone other than ÚZSVM to access the property because to do so could entail a security risk and nobody wants that," he said. Klinika's social center has been running in the building since 2014.

Klinika first had no contract of any kind and then concluded one to borrow the building until March of this year. Ever since then, the person who concluded the contract with the owner has been fined CZK 1 000 (EUR 37)  a day for continuing to use the property without permission.

As of Friday the fines totaled CZK 86 000 (EUR 3 200), of which Klinika has paid not quite half. Since March it has been illegal for anybody or anything involved with Klinika to remain in the building, according to the authorities.

The ÚZSVM refused to extend the contract for loaning the building because the property has never been issued a use permit, and director Kateřina Arajmu believes Klinika is a security risk. Klinika activists were escorted from the building twice by police during the last week after anonymous bomb threats, but returned to the property afterward.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Tags:  

Extremism, Klinika, Police, terrorism



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