Czech Republic: Moravian-Silesian Police plan extensive monitoring for Saturday's demonstrations
The Moravian-Silesian Regional Police are planning to monitor people and vehicles this coming Saturday when demonstrations by right-wing radicals and Romani residents are planned to take place in Ostrava. Officers are counting on monitoring people not only on the territory of the town, but also in selected places along the various access roads into Ostrava.
Gabriela Holčáková, spokesperson for the Moravian-Silesian Regional Police, told the Czech News Agency today that a helicopter will monitor the situation in Ostrava on Saturday as well. The Moravian-Silesian Regional Police officers will be reinforced by colleagues from other places in the country, as well as by local police.
"We cannot rule out the possibility of an escalation of conflicts and violence. The information we have gathered indicates there will be security risks, which is why we are paying attention to this event," Holčáková said.
Based on their experience with previous demonstrations, police are calling on families with young children, people living with disabilities, senior citizens and others to be aware of the impending risks. "Various objects might be flying around through the crowd, so there is a risk of injury. Despite such a risk, we have seen parents with their children or persons living with disabilities whose mobility is reduced out in the crowd during previous incidents in the Czech lands," the police spokesperson said.
Holčáková also called on people to respect police officers' directions. "We will not tolerate any provocations of violence or incitement to ethnic intolerance or racism," she said.
A demonstration against neo-Nazism and racism, entitled "For peace between people", is planned for Saturday on 14:00 by Romani residents of Ostrava, starting at the same time as the right-wing radicals' demonstration. According to a representative of the Roma, this will be a peaceful "happening" through which the Roma intend to demonstrate their disagreement with the right-wing extremist marches.
The right-wing radicals have announced a demonstration entitled "Stop racial attacks" for Saturday from 14:00 - 16:00 at the monument in the Komenský Orchards in Ostrava. However, according to information on the Facebook social networking site and online invitations created by the person who announced the neo-Nazi demonstration to the authorities, demonstrators should meet at 14:00 on Prokešovo Square in front of the New Town Hall. Prokešovo Square is not far from the Komenský Orchards. On Facebook, more than 1 720 people have confirmed they will be participating in an event in Ostrava this Saturday entitled "Against gypsy racism and police violence".
Prokešovo Square is also one of the places the Romani counter-protesters reserved for their event "For peace between people". Romani organizers announced to the authorities that the event would happen at many different places around Ostrava in an effort to prevent the right-wing extremists from holding their protests at all.
The Romani event should actually be gathering near the church on Svatopluk Čech Square in the Přívoz neighborhood, which is roughly two kilometers away from where the neo-Nazis have announced they will gather. Last week the Municipal Department of Moravská Ostrava a Přívoz announced it had banned an assembly and march planned for the center of town this coming Saturday by right-wing radicals from the "Czech Lions" (Čeští lvi) group because Romani residents had first announced their own assembly in the same place at the same time.
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