Czech Republic: Ultra-right party tries provocation in Šluknov district again
One year after anti-Romani sentiment first caused upheaval there, local ethnic Czech residents, neo-Nazis and ultra-right extremists have marched through the town of Varnsdorf once more. The right-wing extremist, xenophobic Workers Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) combined its electoral campaign with anti-Romani slogans to attract approximately 200 - 250 people to today's event. The demonstrators even marched past buildings which were off-limits to them during last year's unrest, doing their best to provoke local Romani residents and shouting racist slogans. Police, however, say no rioting was noted.
The right-wing extremist DSSS is doing its best to gain publicity prior to the elections to Regional Authorities and the Czech Senate. Today's campaign in the largest towns in the Šluknov foothills was an effort to feed on tensions between local ethnic Czechs and Romani people.
The first assembly today was scheduled for 13:00 in the town of Šluknov, but ended up a total fiasco for the DSSS, as almost no one attended it. According to Mayor Eva Džumanová, the situation in Šluknov district is currently stabilized. "It's relatively calm here. Naturally, it's not completely resolved, crime rates are fluctuating. Right now we have noted a slight decline," she told news server Deník.cz.
The right-wing extremists experienced yet another debacle in Rumburk, where an almost-empty square welcomed their arrival. Approximately 30 people total met up on the square, including several DSSS promoters visiting from Germany. Rumburk and Šluknov were repeats of the fiascoes the DSSS experienced yesterday in the towns of Česká Lípa and Nový Bor, where only journalists and police officers were on hand for the party's gatherings.
The right-wing extremists found the greatest support in the town of Varnsdorf. Shortly after the gathering began, a correspondent for news server Romea.cz reported that approximately 150 people were on the square. Approximately 250 people participated in the march through the town, which was followed by riot police from a respectable distance. The crowd's route included passing by the troubled Sport residential hotel and another building right on the German border in which a larger number of Romani people live.
As compared to last year, the right-wing extremists from the DSSS have significantly hardened their approach, adding racist taunts made infamous at Czech football stadiums to their less controversial slogans. On Kovářská street, where several Romani families live in an apartment building, the provocations culminated in racist taunts aimed at local Romani residents. "The same kind of bluster was heard as at football ," a reporter for the Děčínský deník described the scene. Someone shouted: "Monkey, come get a banana!" at the Romani residents and an ethnic Czech then threw an apple into the window of one apartment.
"We do not have any reports of attempts to disturb order or efforts to transport weapons into town," police spokesperson Petra Trypesová told the Czech Press Agency. She estimated the number of demonstrators at between 200 and 250.
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