Czech town councilor: Yesterday was a disgrace to Karlovy Vary
Nazis wearing Fascist symbols and carrying torches marched through the Czech town of Karlovy Vary up to the colonnade yesterday. Accompanied by the Hitlerite rhythm of several drums, they closed off the destination for an hour as their speeches, 80 % of which were in German, resounded through the space.
The spectacle provoked anxiety among passers-by and must have given them goosebumps as well. The town hall, however, did not take advantage of any of its options to change or prevent this event, even though Czech authorities had advance information from Germany that several busloads of neo-Nazis would be coming to Karlovy Vary.
While the town hall has taken action recently to expel a painter from the spa center, in this case officials arranged for an armed escort of riot police and undercover agents for the Nazis, about 200 men in all. The Nazi event was also solicitously protected by the entire municipal police force, of which Mayor Kulhánek is chief!
One member of the police force even plunged after me and did his best to physically pacify me so I would not be able to go the colonnade to see what was happening. Local police never moved the Nazis and their burning torches out of the spa center and the colonnade even though the area is covered with signs banning smoking (for which ordinary citizens are fined).
The firefighters who were there, circling the Nazis with their fire extinguishers, made for an unbelievably ridiculous sight. What about the mayor, the vice-mayors, the other town councilors and the relevant town hall clerks - where were they?
Different information was circulating about the location of the mayor - journalists had been officially informed that he was out of town, while the commander of the police guard waved in the direction of the [Hotel] Thermal when asked where he was. None of the members of the public there ever saw him, but by the end of the assembly his silhouette was glimpsed huddling in the shadow of the stands on the Jan Palach embankment.
Vice-Mayor Klsák was the only other town official present, and he demonstrated his bitterness over the Nazis by standing in the background among the approximately 60 protesting locals present, who were ultimately crammed aside by the police cordon. He never used his power to make sure the Nazis couldn't go through with their plans.
The police left another scar on the public consciousness when they forced the Nazis' right-of-way and accompanied them through the town. I'm not talking about the professional work performed by the rank and file officers, who did a good job executing their orders - I'm talking about the commanders of the police action, who never identified any of the objectionable symptoms of the promotion of Fascism that were ringing in their ears and staring them in the face, and who never dispersed the event.
Coordination with the town hall would have been needed for such a move, of course, and that was missing. Unfortunately, the film and photographs the Nazis took in our town with the blessing of the authorities will be used not just to promote their ideology, but the reputation of Karlovy Vary as well.
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