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Czech Republic: Neo-Nazis taking over public spaces - through dance

Ostrava, 31.5.2011 16:36, (ROMEA)

A new entertainment is spreading among Czech neo-Nazis, following the model of their Russian counterparts. In Ostrava and other cities, groups of neo-Nazis are dancing in public spaces to electronic music. Recently many video recordings have been posted to the internet of these dancing sprees.

The phenomenon of "hardbass", which has been popular for some time among neo-Nazis in Russia, has now reached the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. Dozens of men wearing ski or wrestling masks have been filmed in Ostrava doing the comical, jerky dance not only in the streets, but also in shopping malls and in front of public buildings.

News server Novinky.cz reports that one such group was ejected from a busy traffic circle by patrolmen after dancing there for several minutes and lighting firecrackers. In Ostrava-Poruba, security escorted them out of a department store, where their frantic dancing was bothering shoppers.

Experts in extremism agree that hardbass, a musical style from the Netherlands now embraced by radicals in Eastern Europe, is not an innocent entertainment, but involves ultra-right symbolism. The provocative street dancing, which Novinky.cz reports is being called "chacharbass" in Ostrava, is not a Czech neo-Nazi creation. "The inspiration came from Russia, where hardbass has recently been very popular. Dancing as a group with these disruptive movements symbolizes the dominance and unity of the extreme right and is supposed to terrorize the enemy," Miroslav Mareš, an expert on ultra-right movements, told the Czech daily Právo.

Further proof of eastern inspiration is that the song the Ostrava neo-Nazis are dancing has Russian lyrics. One video filmed in Ostrava and posted to the web also shows the dancers giving the Nazi salute.

"In Russia the ultra-right scene is very strong and Czech neo-Nazis see it as a potential partner in their struggle against Zionism. We have followed rather close ties between the Czech and Russian ultra-right recently," Mareš told the Czech daily Právo.

Dana Klišová, spokesperson for the Ostrava Municipal Police, said that on Sunday eight police officers had to intervene to remove a group of hardbass dancers from a traffic circle in Ostrava-Hrabůvec, where they were performing their choreography. "About 20 people played loud music there and set off pyrotechnics," Klišová confirmed, adding that the dancers had to immediately cease their activity. "One of them was fined CZK 1 000 for damaging a public space," she said. "We know a similar group is also active in the Poruba quarter, but for the time being we haven't had to address any incidents there."

Miroslav Mareš believes most members of the Czech public will have no understanding for such excesses. "In the long term it evidently will not make them any more popular," he told the Czech daily Právo. The first online responses to the videos posted to the web seem to back his prediction.

Gwendolyn Albert, Jitka Votavová, voj, Novinky.cz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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