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Czech Republic: Opponents of neo-Nazis will not blockade DSSS march but will hang banners instead

Most (Chanov), 6.4.2012 18:18, (ROMEA)
Representatives of the police visited the Chanov housing estate on Wednesday and strongly recommended local Romani residents stay home during tomorrow's march by the DSSS. (PHOTO:  Jitka Votavová)

Activists from the initiative Hate is No Solution do not intend to blockade tomorrow's march through the Chanov housing estate by ultra-right extremists from the Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) and neo-Nazis from the National Resistance (Národní odpor - NO). Miroslav Brož told the Czech Press Agency today that those opposed to neo-Nazism, together with local Romani residents, will express their rejection of the neo-Nazi provocation in other ways. Right-wing extremists anticipate between 100 and 200 marchers, while other estimates say there could be as many as 300 people. Police are planning massive security measures. Ludmila Světláková, spokesperson for the Czech Police in Most, told the Czech Press Agency that police do not yet want to release precise data about the number of forces to be deployed.

One year ago, ultra-right extremists and neo-Nazis marched through the Horní Maršov housing estate in Krupka. The march was permitted, but a crowd of local residents and other opponents of neo-Nazism immediately blocked the entrance to the housing estate. When the crowd refused to back down, it was brutally dispersed by mounted police wielding nightsticks and stun grenades. The maneuvers were a repetition of an equally brutal police action in Nový Bydžov earlier that year during which mounted officers galloped into a gathering of peaceful counter-protesters at top speed.

"This, however, is a different situation. The people living at Maršov were used to the neo-Nazi actions, but this is the first such march at Chanov. The residents there will be very shaken by it," Brož told the Czech Press Agency. That is reportedly why no one will be attempting to block the march. "We will not be scuffling with them or blockading the march in any way. We just want to support the locals at this difficult time so they see that not all gadje [non-Romani people] are the same. What we regret most is that the children's Easter will be ruined by this," said Brož.

For the time being it is not clear how many local Romani people support the protest against the DSSS. Some intend to ignore the neo-Nazi provocation and stay home. Representatives of the police strongly recommended that approach to them at a meeting on Wednesday.

Police don't want to speculate on how they will be addressing the situation. "Our forces will correspond to the situation, but those estimates keep developing, so for the time being we can't even tell you the precise number of officers to be deployed," Světláková told the Czech Press Agency. She did say the number of officers would be roughly the same as the number of marchers. "There will also be an anti-conflict team, detectives, officers from district departments, patrol officers and traffic police involved," she said. For the time being there are no plans to use a police helicopter.

In the case of last year's march through Krupka, the pretext was a year-old incident that had taken place in the spring of 2010 during which two Romani minors beat up and raped a non-Romani boy from a children's home near the town. This time, the officially stated reason for the DSSS provocation is an incident that occurred not quite three weeks ago during which a police officer was injured while searching for a wanted person in a derelict building at the housing estate.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Zdeněk Ryšavý, ryz, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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