Czech Republic: Neo-Nazis plan anti-Roma event for 19 October in Ostrava
Yet another anti-Roma event by right-wing radicals will take place in Ostrava on 19 October. The protest, following by a march through the town, was originally announced as beginning at the town hall, which is having its open house on that day.
The Czech News Agency reports that Jana Pondělíčková, spokesperson for the Municipal Department of Moravská Ostrava a Přívoz, said the local authority has reached an agreement with the announcer of the event to move its starting point to the nearby Komenský Orchard. The last right-wing extremist event in Ostrava ended in clashes with police.
"With respect to the security situation in the context of our planned open house and possible transportation complications we agreed with the convener of the event to change the place where it will be held and that it will not include a march," Pondělíčková said. The event has been officially announced as a "Protest against racism and police brutality", according to her.
Invitations to the event circulating online, however, speak of "gypsy racism". Organizers have also created an official website about the planned meeting instructing participants what to do should police intervene.
Another event by right-wing extremists is scheduled for 28 October in Ostrava on Prokešovo Square. The planned protests are complicating the situation of the Ostrava town hall because of its traditional open house.
The open house was originally scheduled for 28 October, which is a state holiday, but the town hall moved the date to 19 October because of the announced neo-Nazi demonstration. Now the date of the open house is colliding once more with the right-wing radicals' event, which even after changing its location will still be taking place a few hundred meters away from the town hall.
"We are preparing the program and consulting the situation with security units, and if the health of our visitors will be at risk even after the announced change of location for the demonstration, we will be forced to cancel the program and not hold it this year," Andrea Vojkovská, spokesperson for the town hall, told the Czech News Agency today. The town was planning to exhibit the original 23 000-year-old sculpture of the Venus of Petřkovice during the open house.
Two ultra-right extremist events have been held in Ostrava during the past two months, both of which ended in clashes with police. At the end of August right-wing radicals met up for an anti-Romani demonstration on Prokešovo Square in the town center, from which approximately 1 000 people marched to Svatopluk Čech Square, where an event by Romani people had taken place earlier that morning.
The most serious incidents during that demonstration occurred at the intersection of Mariánskohorská and Nádražní Streets. Police arrested 62 people.
At the end of September a rally by the Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) was held on a square in the Zábřeh quarter and also grew into a battle with police. A mob of about 1 000 people attempted to reach a mainly Romani-occupied residential hotel on nearby SNP Square.
Police detained 21 people during that demonstration. A total of 16 people have been charged by police in connection with both events for committing violence against a public official and rioting.
A police spokesperson says the number of people being charged is expected to increase. Both events caused hundreds of thousands of crowns of damage to the police and the town and the security measures themselves were also costly.
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