Czech Republic: Racists riot against Roma in Ostrava once more
In the center of Ostrava more than 300 people gathered this afternoon for an anti-Romani demonstration. The demonstrators then marched on the Romani neighborhood of Přívoz.
A police riot unit blocked their path and divided the march into small groups. The largest group of demonstrators, dozens strong, was having their identification checked as of 15:00 and individuals were being detained.
Glass bottles and firecrackers were thrown during the march. The demonstrators were accompanied by an anti-conflict team and a police helicopter flew overhead.
Previous such events by right-wing radicals in Ostrava ended in street battles with police. Organizers began today's demonstration in a place that town officials had previously instructed them not to use, so it was dispersed by an official of the Ostrava town hall.
Most participants then set out for the Komenský Orchards, where the event had been permitted to take place, but turned in the direction of the Přívoz quarter instead. Several dozen police officers were on the scene.
The Office of the Municipal Department of Moravská Ostrava a Přívoz had told the demonstration organizers that their original choice of location could not be used because of possible transport complications and because it posed a risk to public health and safety. The Ostrava town hall held its open house today with an accompanying program on Prokešovo Square, directly across from the proposed demonstration site.
Right-wing radicals held events in August and September that ended in street battles with police. A total of more than 80 people were detained during those previous demonstrations and more than 15 have since been charged with committing violence against a public official or with rioting.
Those events caused the police and the town hundreds of thousands of crowns of damage. The security measures themselves incurred additional costs.
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