Czech Republic: Neo-Nazis convene on Velvet Revolution anniversary
Approximately 150 promoters of neo-Nazism marched through the center of Brno on Saturday 17 November chanting slogans against capitalism and the government and calling for "real democracy". Police spokesperson Petra Vedrová said no illegal behavior was observed. Officers monitored the event from a distance and there was no street deployment of their riot units.
The neo-Nazi assembly started at 14:00 CET on Moravské náměstí. Tomáš Vandas, chair of the extremist Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) gave a speech criticizing immigrants in the EU and political developments in the Czech Republic after 1989. Around 15:00 CET the neo-Nazis set out on a march through the town chanting the slogan "Bohemian for the Czechs" ("Čechy Čechům"). The assembly ended with more speeches on Nové Sady street.
Organizers from the extremist Workers' Youth association (Dělnická mládež) convened the event as a "Day of National Unity" (Den národní jednoty). Invitations to it turned up on the neo-Nazi website Odpor.info and on the web pages of the DSSS. The party is the successor organization to the racist Workers' Party (Dělnická strana) which was dissolved by the Supreme Administrative Court. The start of the assembly took place especially in front of that court.
Organizers of the protest said the post-November 1989 regime has not met expectations. Ordinary people in the Czech Republic allegedly are worse off than before 1989, while the state allegedly does not respect its own Constitution and serves primarily the wealthy. Bankers, corporations and politicians are allegedly responsible for the catastrophic state of public affairs. "The situation is ripe for a general strike, but unfortunately people are afraid," Vandas said.
Organizers of the event claimed the government uses repression against its opponents. They alleged that they have been labeled anti-state elements and extremists and are "rotting away in democratic jails for producing stickers, singing songs and other absurdities."
Those opposed to neo-Nazism did not convene an organized counter-demonstration on Saturday. "We don't want to add any attention or weight to this obvious exploitation of an important national holiday," the "We Don't Want Neo-Nazis in Brno" initiative (V Brně neonacisty nechceme) said in a press release. That group organized a blockade of a neo-Nazi march on Cejl street on 1 May 2011. Anti-fascists called this year's 17 November gathering a neo-Nazi farce.
Last year the promoters of neo-Nazism met up in Prague on 17 November. About 350 of them marched through the city center. Police had to intervene against a group of demonstrators who wanted to cross over to the other side of the Vltava river where their opponents had gathered. A total of 17 people ended up in a police station last year in Prague.
Video of this year's march and speeches (in Czech only) can be seen at http://www.romea.cz/cz/zpravodajstvi/domaci/v-brne-se-seslo-na-vyroci-17-listopadu-asi-150-neonacistu
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