Czech Republic: Neo-Nazis repeatedly assault Romani social worker in Duchcov
Jan Dufek and Jindřich "Pinďa" Svoboda, two antigypsyists known for having said they want Romani people to be murdered off, have been targeting Štefan Horvát of Duchcov, who works for the Květina (Flower) civic association as a field social worker. Horvát says these men have been the protagonists in two incidents of both physical and verbal assault against him.
The persecution began during an anti-Romani event earlier this summer, when neo-Nazis threw a plastic bottle at the social worker. In mid-July about 70 Romani people had gathered on Karel Čapek Street in Duchcov in response to a neo-Nazi gathering supported by several local "whites".
Some of the right-wing extremists set out for Karel Čapek Street after gathering on the main square. Police prevented them from marching into the Romani neighborhood.
"A small group of neo-Nazis and locals from Duchcov came here and started cursing at me. Then a black car drove up with four people inside, two guys and two females. One guy pulled out a plastic bottle half full of beer and threw it at me," Štefan Horvát told news server Romea.cz at the time.
Social worker Zlatuše Tomášová confirmed Horvát's account, adding that "police detained the Nazis and took them in for interrogation along with the victim." Police had to address two such incidents related to the assembly in Duchcov that day.
"Those incidents are currently qualified as misdemeanors against civil coexistence," police spokesperson Veronika Hyšplerová has told news server Romea.cz. Horvát says he has also been informed that the man who threw the bottle at him will be fined, primarily thanks to his testimony.
Assaults on the street
Initially it seemed possible that the bottle-throwing incident was random and not worth taking too seriously. However, a second, more serious assault on Horvát soon followed.
"A week ago I was walking home from work after 18:00. On the way, Jan Dufek saw me as he was riding his bicycle. He headed straight for me on the sidewalk. Luckily I heard him coming and turned around right when he was about to crash into me, so he only clipped the bag on my shoulder. I was terribly startled," Horvát told news server Romea.cz.
Horvát has filed an official complaint against Dufek and requested a misdemeanor proceeding. Jana Víchová, the staffer in charge of misdemeanor hearings at the town hall, is currently on vacation, so news server Romea.cz will report on the state of the investigation into this matter when she returns.
Assault at the swimming pool
Last Saturday Štefan Horvát took his three children to the swimming pool. When they went to buy some refreshments at a stand, about eight neo-Nazis, all of whom had attended the anti-Roma march, began to harass them, led by Jindřich Svoboda, who organized one of the recent anti-Roma events there together with Dufek.
Svoboda used a tablet to photograph Horvát and his children from a distance of about five centimeters away, laughing at them the whole time. "They shouted racist insults at us the whole time, 'black fucks', 'Gyppos', etc. Dufek started to shout that I was the gypsy thief who snitched on him. They evidently wanted to spark an argument. I stayed calm and told them to leave us alone. We went back to the water but the children were terribly afraid and wanted to leave immediately. When the other Romani people there saw we were leaving, they also packed up and left too. The Nazis shouted after all of us derisively. We took an indirect route home, just to be sure they couldn't follow us," Horvát said. He intends to file criminal charges over this incident.
Roma refuse to negotiate with neo-Nazis
This week representatives of the Romani community in Duchcov rejected an offer from Mayor Jitka Bártová to participate in round table negotiations with the neo-Nazi Svoboda (Dufek was most probably invited to participate as well). Svoboda is a member of the Workers' Social Justice Party (DSSS), convened at least one of the recent anti-Romani events in Duchcov together with Dufek, and is organizing more for the future.
Bártová tried to calm the situation after the first neo-Nazi demonstration was held in her town this year by convening a public discussion. When that meeting was over, Míra Brož of the Konexe association held the following exchange with Dufek and Svoboda, which was captured on video:
Brož: "Really, gentlemen, every march exacerbates the situation and makes it worse."
Dufek: "That's good, the people will finally rise up and murder them all off."
It can be deduced from this statement that Dufek and Svoboda are holding anti-Romani demonstrations in order to deteriorate and exacerbate the situation to such a degree that non-Romani people begin to murder Romani people. Even though only Dufek was captured saying this on camera, news server Romea.cz previously reported that Svoboda expressed himself in those same words on his Facebook profile, as follows:
"So finally it's out! The secret video of the assault in Duchcov! Those black fuckers! They should all be massacred! How much longer will we tolerate this? I propose that it is time to unite and fucking give them what for! I'm going to go throw up and then I'm going to sharpen my knives...."
Bártová: The DSSS has not been banned, so it's ok
Mayor Bártová has expressed astonishment that someone would be opposed to attending a round table together with DSSS representatives, as the party is not banned. "I can believe whatever I like about various political parties, but that doesn't mean I won't negotiate with them," the mayor said.
Posting to a Facebook discussion about the incident at the swimming pool, the mayor was duplicitous: At first she made no statement about the reported behavior of the DSSS members, instead claiming that Romani children really do bother people and that some citizens believe Roma get free entry to the swimming pool (a rumor she herself has already refuted).
The Anti-Fascist Action organization has reported that both of the men convening anti-Romani events in Duchcov are neo-Nazis. "Dufek is a longtime neo-Nazi activist. He has been previously convicted of giving the Nazi salute, weapons possession, and welfare fraud. He has reportedly also previously participated, along with a larger group of people, in attacking a group of Romani people in Slovakia. While standing on the main square in the town of Krupina there, he first insulted Romani people, gave the Nazi salute, threatened to shoot them in the head, and then physically assaulted them," Antifa wrote in a press release earlier this year.
Svoboda recently faced the possibility of spending between two and eight years in prison for fraud. He was eventually sentenced by a court in Teplice to three years in prison and five years on parole.
The case marked the first time the court has upheld a plea agreement reached between a defendant and a state prosecutor. "I claimed reimbursement for costs related to my travel to Thomayer Hospital in Prague for chemotherapy without authorization," Svoboda told the court as part of the plea agreement.
From April 2008 until February 2012, Svoboda was paid almost CZK 950 000 by the VZP public health insurer as reimbursement for trips related to his cancer treatment - trips which either never took place or for which he was not entitled to reimbursement. He will have to return the money to the insurance company.
Svoboda is unemployed, so paying the money back will not be easy. "Momentarily I am unemployed and on disability. I have been promised a job in Duchcov as an electrician and maintenance man. Once that begins I would like to start payments," Svoboda promised the listeners of Czech Radio this past February.
Members of the Duchcov cell of the DSSS described the incident at the swimming pool as follows on their Facebook page:
"Today the local organization of the Workers' Social Justice Party, together with several other dissatisfied citizens of the town of Duchcov, visited the local swimming pool to determine what was actually going on with the oppression of majority-society citizens by the Romani minority. Immediately after arriving, we noticed an unusual disturbance among the Romani people there, who began to immediately warn one another that some guys with short hair had come to the swimming pool... We properly followed everything going on at the swimming pool and fortunately did not notice any conflicts or assaults being committed by the Roma (evidently thanks to our presence). After about a half an hour the Romani families began to pack up and leave the swimming pool en masse, for which two majority-society citizens came over to thank us. After most of the Roma had left the swimming pool, we determined that there was basically no one left there to keep an eye on, so we set off for our homes... At the exit the lady at the cash register informed us that several Roma had demanded their entry fees back, claiming they had to go home because of 'Nazis', that they had not had time to swim, and that they did not feel safe at the swimming pool. What would it look like if every majority-society citizen of Duchcov said they want their money back because they don't feel safe when gypsies are at the swimming pool...?"
DSSS leader Vandas has posted his thanks to the cell for their successful action.
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