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Czech vigilantes file their own crime report about play in Brno

31.5.2018 13:44
Roughly 30 members of the
Roughly 30 members of the "Decent People" ("Slušní lidé") movement (in the blue t-shirts) are captured here after coming onstage to disrupt a performance of the play "Our Violence and Your Violence" performed on 26 May 2018 as part of the Theater World Festival in Brno, Czech Republic. (PHOTO: ČTK)

The self-described "Decent People" movement filed a crime report on Monday in connection with Saturday's performance in Brno of the play "Our Violence and Your Violence", in which an actor embodying the character of Jesus Christ enacts the rape of a Muslim woman and another actress enacts pulling a Czech flag from her vagina. The crime report is against the director of the National Theater venue in Brno, Martin Glaser, against the Croatian director of the play, Oliver Frljič, and against the actors' ensemble itself.

Zdeněk Pernica, chair of the movement, told the Czech News Agency that they believe it is evident that the Czech flag was desecrated by the performance and that the rest of it could rise to the level of felony defamation of a faith. The production was part of the Theater World festival that is organized by the National Theater in Brno.

The play is about the relationship between the Middle East and the West and culminates in a scene of Jesus Christ raping a Muslim woman. It was criticized long before it ever opened.

"In the play, Jesus Christ rapes a Muslim woman. How much more strongly can Christianity be defamed? What has to happen to meet the definition of that crime?" Pernica asked in his report to police. 

The chair said the fact that the enactment takes place onstage is no excuse. He pointed out that actual rape would still be a felony even if it were happening onstage as part of an artwork.

"What we saw on Saturday was a crime, it was the rape of freedom of speech by a group of provocateurs," he said. The Czech Interior Ministry has previously classified his "Decent People" movement as an extremist one.

The movement has since filed a lawsuit against that characterization. Last Saturday, after the play began, some audience members, especially adherents of the "Decent People" movement, began to stomp and whistle before bursting onstage, forming a human chain, and pushing the actors against the upstage wall.

The audience members were reacting to a scene in which two actors stripped naked and began to caress and touch each other. The activists did not leave until dozens of minutes later, after police officers from an anti-conflict team instructed them to do so.

Czech Senator Eliška Wagnerová (for the Greens), who is a former Constitutional Court Justice, filed a crime report about the radicals' behavior. In her opinion, there are grounds to suspect that the behavior of the audience members rose to the level of felony rioting.

Pernica said members of the movement properly bought tickets to the performance and then acted to "fulfill their civic duty" when the Czech flag was defaced. "It is sad that the policy of hatred against the citizens of one's own country has blinded some - such as Senator Wagnerová - who are able to defend such a barbarous deed," he said.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Brno, divadlo, Extremism, Fascism



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