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Czech Republic: Police propose charging four neo-Nazis for assaulting demonstrators supporting refugee reception

11.9.2016 18:57
Opponents of refugee reception (on the left) attacked a procession by those opposed to hate speech on 6 February 2016 as they were walking from Malostranské Square to Prague Castle. The incident lasted five to 10 minutes. Police attempted to keep both groups away from each other. (PHOTO:  Czech News Agency)
Opponents of refugee reception (on the left) attacked a procession by those opposed to hate speech on 6 February 2016 as they were walking from Malostranské Square to Prague Castle. The incident lasted five to 10 minutes. Police attempted to keep both groups away from each other. (PHOTO: Czech News Agency)

The Prague Police have proposed charging just four people for their role in a February incident on Thunovská Street in Prague during which a group of masked men assaulted demonstrators marching in support of migrants. Police have halted the prosecution of a fifth person accused in the incident.

The prosecution of a sixth suspect has also been temporarily suspended while the individual involved attempts to make it through one year's probation. Prague Police spokesperson Jan Daněk revealed the information Friday to the Czech News Agency.

Police informed the public in May that they had identified 25 people from the masked group and that five of them had perpetrated felony rioting, while the other 20 may have committed misdemeanors. Later, Daněk said the number of those accused had risen to six.

The accused allegedly committed the rioting by attacking the participants in a properly-announced assembly or by throwing objects at them, grossly disrupting their gathering. The first Saturday of February in the Czech capital saw many demonstrations about migration, during which 1 000 police officers were deployed.

There were ten times as many demonstrators in the streets that day. Police were criticized for how they handled their intervention in Thunovská Street.

A particular video recording of the incident was disseminated through online social networking sites alleging that the clash between the left-wing activists and the neo-Nazis had in fact been provoked by police. Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) rejected that allegation and said pro-Russian websites were behind the video and that its aim was to discredit the police.

Officers are said to have done the maximum they could at the scene to keep the two camps separated and to push the aggressors away. Chovanec got into a clash of opinions over the incident with Czech Justice Minister Robert Pelikánem (ANO), who called the intervention a failure because police failed to maintain public order.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Demonstrace, Extremism, Police, refugee, Violence, Xenophobia



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