DSSS alleges Czech Interior Ministry orchestrated attack on singer, will sue for libel and slander
The case of the recently reported attack on Tonya Graves, the singer with the band Monkey Business, allegedly committed by racist promoters of the extremist Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS), has moved into a new phase. The DSSS is no longer asking for an objective investigation, but is considering filing criminal charges of slander against Graves for repeatedly claiming to the media that "she was physically assaulted by DSSS promoters, who pulled her hair and spit at her", as the DSSS statement reads.
The DSSS does not consider Graves' claims to be true because the Police of the Czech Republic issued an official press release about the incident that merely describes a verbal incident between Graves and an unidentified man. DSSS party chair Tomáš Vandas has labeled the entire affair of the alleged physical assault on the singer "an intentional, pre-arranged provocation against the Workers' Party, which could have involved undercover Interior Ministry units."
The DSSS may also file criminal libel charges against some of the media outlets that have reported the incident. The party leadership says journalists are carrying out a campaign to discredit it.
Police have not yet closed the case and are still investigating. For the time being, testimonies indicate that the scuffle was started by a man who was not a local.
The singer described the incident as follows: "I encountered some people from the Workers' Social Justice Party at the restaurant. I was alone and it was unpleasant, they were not glad to see me there. They started shouting racist slogans at me, pulling me by the hair and spitting at me." When asked by Czech Television how she knew her attackers were "people from the DSSS", she said one of the police officers told her they were.
Tomáš Koška, who runs the discotheque where Monkey Business later performed, told the media that "There was no physical attack on the singer." He said the restaurant staff and other customers handled the incident with the provocateur. "A few punches may have been thrown during that, and a chair may have been thrown," Koška said. Police were reportedly not called until afterward.
A resident of Vimperk also wrote about the incident on Facebook: "Yesterday evening the band Monkey B performed here. A black singer performs with them, and before the show she went for some soup to Hamajda, where some skinheads who came here with the DSSS attacked her. They spit on her, pulled her hair, etc."
Graves also said that even though two police officers were in the restaurant, they were off duty and did not help her. "Those officers immediately called for backup and ran into the dining hall. The locals know they are officers and told them it was nothing, that there had been a minor misunderstanding with some man from out of town and they had ejected or shown him out of the restaurant," said Jiří Matzner, spokesperson for the South Bohemian Police.
On Monday, the Vimperk Municipal Police confirmed the incident did occur, adding that state police also responded to it. "The conflicts happened after the riot police had left town. The local party promoters started the incident, which took place at the Stadion restaurant. There was a physical assault which we and the Police of the Czech Republic addressed. We detained two people," Daniel Ziemba, chief constable of the Vimperk Municipal Police, told news server Deník.cz. "The same small group left the Stadion restaurant and headed into U Lázní street where the local Romani people live, chanting anti-Romani slogans on the way. Local residents reported them to us and we addressed the situation together with a Czech Police patrol, which resulted in another detention. Here I must mention that the Romani residents were completely calm."
The incident was preceded by a demonstration organized by the DSSS in Vimperk. Party chair Tomáš Vandas took advantage of the opportunity to repeat the usual disinformation, half-truths and lies that are disseminated on the internet about Romani people, including the purely invented claim that crime in the town is high because of them. Police have repeatedly declared that crime rates in Vimperk are some of the lowest in the region.
Opponents of the DSSS, including local Romani people, also came to Vimperk. They brought protest banners with them in the form of childrens' drawings. There were no skirmishes between them and the more the more numerous group of their adversaries.
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