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January 20, 2020
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Czech state prosecutor charges 14 with racially motivated violence

Hradec Králové, 25.10.2011 10:50, (ROMEA)
Police in Nový Bydžov protected right-wing extremists and brutally attacked counter demonstrators (pictured above) but were unable to prevent a young Romani man from a racist attack. Photo:  Archive of Romea.cz

Alexandr Pumprla, the Hradec Králové district state prosecutor, has filed charges against 14 participants in a demonstration held this past March by the Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) in Nový Bydžov. According to the charges, after the demonstration ended, the 14 demonstrators attacked three local Romani people, injuring one of them. The state prosecutor considers their actions a racially motivated attack, Czech Television reports. Ivana Ježková, a spokesperson for the Hradec Králové police, said that if found guilty, the perpetrators face up to three years in prison.

The group of assailants attacked a Romani man in the center of town about an hour after the demonstration had ended. Police evidently were unable to handle the situation. Despite being deployed in large numbers, officers were unable to protect the citizens of the town from the racists. State prosecutor Pumprla says the 14 defendants aggressively assaulted the man with their hands and feet while shouting racist insults. The Romani victim suffered head injuries, fell unconscious, and was transported to hospital. Pumprla said the assailants, who live in various towns in North Bohemia, are not connected to one another in any other way. They randomly met up at the March demonstration.

Police originally charged 13 right-wing extremists with the assault and with rioting. "Gradually, on the basis of our investigation, we increased the number of defendants and also charged them with the offense of defamation of a nation or race. The investigation revealed a racial subtext to their insults," Ježková said. Police are continuing to investigate the demonstration and are not ruling out the possibility that other charges might be filed in relation to it.

As many as 500 right-wing extremists and roughly 200 counter-demonstrators traveled to Nový Bydžov for the gathering and march convened by the DSSS. The counter-demonstrators attempted to nonviolently prevent the right-wing extremists from marching, but police brutally intervened to push them out of the way of the route of the neo-Nazi march.

"Mounted police charged into the peaceful demonstrators at full speed," one participant told news server Romea.cz. Police officers also brutally beat the counter-demonstrators with truncheons just for standing on the sidewalk or in the street and pulled girls by their hair. During the intervention, according to a police spokesperson, one person was injured, suffering bruises.

The situation in the town of 7 000 came to a head last November after several assaults and the rape of a young woman. A petition demanding that security be ensured was signed by 3 257. Mayor Pavel Louda then issued a declaration sharply criticizing Romani people and announcing a series of measures against "problematic residents".

ČTK, František Kostlán, Gwendolyn Albert, fk, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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