Czech Republic: Hundreds plan to block neo-Nazi march on 1 May in Brno
Right-wing extremists from the Workers' Youth (Dělnická mládež - DM) group, which is linked to the Workers' Social Justice Party (DSSS) are planning to go to Brno for 1 May. The event, called "Europe, Rise Up" (Evropo povstaň) has been announced to the Brno-střed municipal department.
The "We Don't Want Neo-Nazis in Brno" (V Brně neonacisty nechceme) initiative will be protesting the neo-Nazi event on 1 May. South Moravian Regional Police are preparing for the meetings.
Neo-Nazi event will be dispersed if it breaks the law
Fliers inviting people to the neo-Nazi meeting have been distributed throughout Brno and an invitation to the event has been posted to the Facebook social networking site. The neo-Nazis will meet up on 1 May at 14:00 on Brno's central square (náměstí Svobody).
They plan to march through the city along Masarykova, Nádražní, Divadelní, Rooseveltova, Moravské náměstí and Rašínova streets, ending up back on náměstí Svobody shortly after 15:00. Police are coordinating security measures with the local city leadership.
"Naturally we will have a representative monitoring the event," said Roman Burian, spokesperson for the Brno-střed local council. Should the law be broken, the city's representative can instruct police to immediately stop the assembly and ensure that its participants disperse.
Petra Vedrová, spokesperson for the South Moravian Regional Police, said the radicals last held such a meeting in Brno on 1 May 2011. "Naturally we know about this planned meeting and we are preparing to take measures, but we will not comment on them for tactical reasons," she told the Czech News Agency.
Hundreds plan to block the neo-Nazis
The "We Don't Want Neo-Nazis in Brno" initiative intends to publicly speak out against the neo-Nazis. Originally the initiative announced to the Brno-střed authorities that it would occupy 11 sites but later reduced that number to six sites along the route of the neo-Nazi march where representatives of the initiative will express their disagreement with the radicals.
Václav Pecl, an organizer of the event, said the initiative aims to meet police halfway so the security measures won't become too costly. "We presume that over time we will reduce those six sites to two or three. We will do this after reaching an agreement with the local authority and the police," Pecl said previously.
Currently the sites that have been announced for the protest actions against the 1 May assembly by right-wing radicals are Moravské náměstí, Kobližná Street, the park in front of the Janáček Theater, Josefská Street, the space in front of the Mahenovo Theater on Malinovského náměstí and the intersection of Minoritská and Poštovská Streets. The most critical place where clashes might occur will be Malinovského náměstí.
At that point the neo-Nazis might be closed in by the crowd of those opposed to them from both sides of the square. "At Malinovského náměstí we will have a podium up at 14:00 and we are planning to close off the neo-Nazis' procession from both sides," Pecl told the Czech News Agency today.
Both the neo-Nazis and those opposed to them claim they do not want to spark any brawls or rioting or cause property damage. The local council of the Brno-střed Municipal Department has expressed its support for those opposed to the neo-Nazi march.
"The Brno-střed Municipal Department Council disagrees with the 1 May march planned by the Workers' Youth. That organization has long collaborated with the neo-Nazi scene and called for suppression of the rights and freedoms on which a democratic society is based. It also opposes the fundamental rights of ethnic and national minorities in the Czech Republic, which is unacceptable to us," the council said in a statement.
"We are calling on citizens of the Brno-střed Municipal Department, in particular the members of national minorities against whom [the Workers' Youth] regularly speaks out, to come peacefully express their opinions and show that Brno is open and tolerant, that there is no room for hatred and xenophobia on the streets of this city," the council said. Public figures have expressed support on Facebook for the blockade of the neo-Nazi march, including Czech Human Rights Minister Jiří Dienstbier, the actor Marek Daniel, the director Břetislav Rychlík, the actor Arnošt Goldflam, the chair of the Czech Helsinki Committee, Táňa Fischerová, and others.
DM linked to the DSSS and neo-Nazis
The DM was created in March 2009 as the youth organization of what was then the Workers' Party (DS), which was in the process of being dissolved by the Czech courts. After several changes in its top leadership, its current chair is Erik Lamprecht.
"The main reason [Lamprecht is leader] is evidently that he has good relations with the unofficial neo-Nazi scene and has the political ambition and capability to provide a rather decent public presentation [of the DM]," comments the Antifa.cz website in an extensive article on the history of the DM. The group last held a 1 May demonstration in Brno in 2011, when more than 2 000 people protested against it.
Lamprecht, who has convened the right-wing radicals' meeting this year, rejected the idea that the DM supports neo-Nazis and said he does not understand the planned protests against the DM march. Previous 1 May demonstrations by right-wing radicals have been boisterous.
One such demonstration ended in the prosecution of representatives of the now-defunct DS for statements made during that event. They were fined and given suspended sentences.
The Supreme Administrative Court subsequently dissolved the DS. Its activities have been continued by the DSSS.
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