Czech Republic: Simultaneous neo-Nazi demos in Ostrava and Plzeň
Today approximately 70 neo-Nazis passed through Plzeň during an event announced as a march to uphold the rights of all "decent citizens" of the Czech Republic and to protest the ROMEA organization. The neo-Nazis set out at 14:45 from Republika Square and marched down Františkánská, Martinská, Americká and Tylova Streets to Emil Škoda Square.
Approximately 300 people counter-protested the neo-Nazis on Husovo Square in Plzeň. Another anti-Romani demonstration was also convened at 14:00 in the city of Ostrava by extremists from the Czech Lions ("Čeští lvi") group.
News server Romea.cz followed both demonstrations and reported on them online in real time:
The situation in Plzeň is calm, the neo-Nazis did not succeed in provoking any clashes with counter-protesters. News server Romea.cz will report more information in a follow-up article.
In Ostrava the neo-Nazis have suffered a big debacle and things are already calm. Only 20 neo-Nazis turned out for the demonstration there. A speech by Pavel Sládek Matějný was whistled down by approximately 50 Romani counter-protesters.
Some of the neo-Nazis have headed back to Husovo Square in Plzeň, where approximately 300 people are demonstrating against them. A large number of the counter-protesters are Romani.
The neo-Nazis have arrived at Emil Škoda Square in Plzeň and ended their demonstration against Romani people and the ROMEA organization. They are not hiding their disappointment at the small turnout for their event.
Police have intervened just behind Husovo Square in Plzeň. One neo-Nazi ended up on the ground after the intervention.
The neo-Nazis are continuing their march down Tylova Street. "With the exception of some petty verbal incidents, nothing has happened yet," our correspondent reports from the scene.
The neo-Nazi parade has stopped near Husovo Square in Plzeň, where about 300 counter-protesters holding banners reading "Shaved heads are bad luck", "Good Night White Pride" and other slogans are loudly whistling down the neo-Nazis. "Virtually, we had 500 people posting to Facebook that they would join us. This action is protesting against the march by the neo-Nazis through Plzeň. Instead of doing what Czechs usually do - packing up and leaving town - we prefer to gather, to play music, to sing, to dance and to have a good time. We will not let them intimidate us," said Lukáš Bartoň, organizer of the counter-protest, who believes the neo-Nazis intentionally planned their march to head for Husovo Square because a large Romani community lives in the neighborhood. "That's why we have organized this here, so [the Roma] could have a good time with us here and not succumb to this intimidation," Bartoň said.
About 70 neo-Nazis have set out on their march through Plzeň. They are chanting slogans such as "Bohemia for the Czechs", "We don't want multi-culti", "Gypsies get to work", etc.
About 50 Romani people have turned out to counter-protest the neo-Nazi demonstration in Ostrava. The online edition of the Czech Police's weekly Týdeník Policie publication reports that a police source says an anti-conflict team has calmed the situation there.
The organization of the neo-Nazi march in Plzeň is floundering. The right-wing extremists do not have megaphones with them and again have a problem with how the Czech flag is supposed to be held. A brief speech made by a neo-Nazi inveighs against foreigners and the ROMEA organization.
Activists are distributing "history fliers" to the neo-Nazis in Plzeň.
The online edition of the daily Plzeňský deník reports that Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec, the former governor of the Plzeň Region, is also in Plzeň today.
There are about 30 neo-Nazis in Plzeň and around 20 locals have turned out to support them.
The route of the neo-Nazi march in Plzeň has been decorated with anti-racist messages.
There are about 20 neo-Nazis in Ostrava on Svatopluk Čech Square where the "Czech Lions" announced their anti-Romani demonstration would take place.
There are about 15 right-wing extremists on the square in Plzeň where the neo-Nazis are scheduled to gather at 14:00.
Mayor of Plzeň Martin Baxa has issued a clear statement against the neo-Nazi provocation. "On the basis of our experiences with previous similar marches, it is my opinion that this one has no aim other than to show hatred for those who are different, to divide citizens against one another, and to dangerously and stupidly create division in society. Personally I disagree in principle with this march and the tack it is taking," the mayor said.
All is still calm in Plzeň. "Officers are visible on the streets but we haven't seen any Nazis yet," our correspondent reports from the scene.
Counter-protesters will be responding to the right-wing extremist event in Plzeň. A "happening" is scheduled to take place in front of the Museum of West Bohemia, and an assembly is also scheduled on Husovo Square, immediately adjacent to the planned route of the neo-Nazi march.
Police are monitoring the situation in Plzeň. Hundreds are deployed in the streets including reinforcements from Prague. A helicopter is scheduled to patrol the city from above and canine units, heavy technology, and riot units will also be ready to deploy.
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