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Czech town launches "militia", critics say it is armed

Chomutov, 5.7.2012 19:17, (ROMEA)

The first "militia" action on the streets of the Czech town of Chomutov has gotten off to an embarrassing start. Members of the patrols first posed for journalists last Sunday evening on 1 May Square and then got into arguments with those opposed to the project, who accused them of wanting to arm themselves. Romani leaders have distanced themselves from the militia, which claims to collaborate with the Romani community. Two Romani men were photographed putting on the militia's reflective vests.

"You can walk around and be visible all you want, but why do you want to carry pepper spray and truncheons?" Tereza Dvořáková of the People in Need (Člověk v tísni) organization asked the militia members. She emphasized that she had come to watch the presentation of the patrols on her own and was not representing the organization.

"These aren't truncheons, they are collapsible nightsticks," argued militia founder Petr Kubaczka. He said he established the group after his daughter was beaten up by two other women in a park in Chomutov.

The full article (in Czech only) featuring photographs of the militia can be seen here: http://zpravy.idnes.cz/chomutov-zacala-hlidat-domobrana-d45-/krimi.aspx?c=A120702_142746_usti-zpravy_alh

Gwendolyn Albert, Artur Janoušek, iDNES.cz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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