Czech Republic: Hateful demonstrations against refugee reception in several cities
In Brno, Prague, and several other cities in the Czech Republic, hundreds of people gathered today for demonstrations against migration, with police in Brno estimating that about 1 500 people turned out. Most of the events (the ones in Brno, Ostrava, Prague and Ústí nad Labem) were convened by the Bloc against Islam (Blok proti islámu) and Dawn-National Coalition (Úsvit-Národní koalice).
Klára Samková addresses the crowd in Brno
The biggest turnout was in Brno. "This event is about drawing attention to the big danger for Europe that this rolling wave of Islamic migrants represents," David Štěpán, spokesperson for the Bloc against Islam, told the Czech News Agency.
People brought banners reading "No Islamic Invasion, No German Dictatorship, No Occupation of Europe by Islam". Others carried signs reading "Stop the Islamization of Europe", "European Suicide Must Not Be Our Model", "Yes to Suing Over Quotas".
The 1 500 demonstrators included 70 motorcyclists who were also visible at demonstrations in the other cities. Several speakers spoke from the podium as people arrived.
One of the first speakers was attorney Klára Samková, who said she would combat Islam through all legal means available. "If the legal forms won't be effective, I will fight through extra-legal ones. When someone is using a weapon, you are under no obligation not to use the same weapon," she declared.
The attorney said Islamic men do not value women, whom she believes have no rights in Islam. František Novák of the Úsvit movement, who is proposing banning Islam, pointed that out as well.
"I would say the Quran is on the same level as Hitler's book Mein Kampf," he said. According to Brno Mayor Petr Vokřál (ANO), it is unacceptable that such an event was held on today's state holiday.
"This is intentional. Each person is entitled to their opinions and I am no advocate of Islam, but I urge everyone not to increase the tension that already exists around us. We should behave tolerantly, with respect, and at the same time require respect for ourselves from others," he said.
Pegida boss comes to Prague
Speakers railed against migration in other cities and some people carried flags along with their signs. Representatives of the German Pegida movement, including its leader, Lutz Bachmann, came to Prague to support the event there and spoke at the assembly, which police unofficially estimated to be at least 300 people strong.
"It is important that all European patriots now collaborate so we can face this threat. We are strong and we can do it," he said, among other things.
Pegida (the Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West movement) has been holding demonstrations for almost one year in Dresden against immigrants and the alleged Islamization of Europe. Riot police had to separate a group of those opposed to refugee reception from a group of migrant supporters at the Prague event.
"We supervised order to make sure there was no disruption of the properly-announced assembly against immigration by persons of the opposite position. We did not have to physically intervene," police spokesperson Iveta Martinková told Czech news server iDNES.cz.
In Ostrava the protest assembly against illegal immigration was attended by around 500 people. The main speaker was Martin Konvička, representing Bloc against Islam.
There were no incidents in Ostrava either. Demonstrators dispersed calmly once the event was over.
Neo-Nazis among the demonstrators in Ústí nad Labem
Approximately 400 people assembled in Ústí nad Labem and flags reading "National Resistance" could be seen there, referring to the unregistered neo-Nazi organization. In addition to representatives of Bloc against Islam and Dawn-National Coalition, Czech Senator Jaroslav Doubrava (North Bohemians) of Ústí nad Labem was on the podium.
Police there deployed anti-conflict teams, plainclothes detectives and a special vehicle for monitoring the demonstration, but did not intervene. In the town of Liberec roughly 350 people gathered on the square in front of the town hall for a demonstration against the "Islamization" of Europe and in favor of holding a referendum on leaving the EU, 70 of whom arrived as a group on motorcycles.
The main speaker there was Czech MP Tomio Okamura. A demonstration in support of refugees was held at the same time and was attended by about 40 people.
"The event has been without any conflict so far," police spokesperson Vlasta Suchánková said just before 16:00. One incipient incident there, however, had to be ended by riot police when some demonstrators against the alleged "Islamization" of Europe set out against the other group.
Police reacted quickly and riot units took up positions between both groups. There was also a demonstration in the South Bohemian town of Větřní, where an assembly "For the Sovereignty of the Czech Republic, against Immigration and in Favor of Leaving the EU" was convened by the Workers Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS).
According to police information, several dozen people assembled and then began to disperse at around 16:00. Police spokesperson Milan Bajcura said officers did not record any disruptions of public order.
The current massive migration wave into Europe involves predominantly asylum-seekers from Syria, where a civil war is underway, as well as people from Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said yesterday that since the beginning of the year more than 700 000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean Sea in search of a better life in Europe.
More than 3 210 people either definitely did not survive that journey or have gone missing. Germany is the destination for most of them.
Hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers have headed there. The Czech Police registered 7 201 migrants in the country during the first nine months of this year.
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