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DSSS chair wants to sue Czech Interior Minister for labeling him extremist

Hradec Králové, 16.3.2011 14:37, (ROMEA)

The chair of the Workers' Social Justice Party, (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) Tomáš Vandas filed criminal charges today with the District State Attorney in Hradec Králové against Czech Interior Minister Radek John (Public Affairs - VV) over statements made by the minister about Vandas's extremism priod to the DSSS rally last Saturday in Nový Bydžov. The Czech Press Agency reports that Vandas suspects John of the crime of slander and spreading false rumors to disturb people.

Vandas is responding to John's statements made on Friday, 11 March at a press conference given during his visit to the regional police headquarters. He has specifically objected to the minister's statement that "If something happens tomorrow, Mr Vandas and the extremists will bear responsibility for it, because he is seeking blood there, he is seeking escalation. Vandas has labeled John's message slanderous and untrue.

As many as 500 right-wing extremists traveled to Nový Bydžov on Saturday for a gathering and march convened by the DSSS, as did 200 counter-demonstrators including members of civil society, former government officials and representatives of political parties who attempted to nonviolently prevent the announced DSSS march. The police intervention against the counter-demonstrators was subsequently labeled disproportionate and unusually harsh by many. One person was injured and many others left with minor wounds. Once the DSSS gathering was over, 13 right-wing extremists attacked three Roma citizens that same afternoon. Police have charged those they arrested with rioting.

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

Gwendolyn Albert, Radka Steklá, ras, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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