Football hooligans and neo-Nazis blame all Roma for violent crime and march through Czech town, riot police deployed
About 150 football hooligans and neo-Nazis marched on Saturday, 5 June through the Czech town of Hradec Králové in an anti-Romani procession convened because of several conflicts that have transpired there in which Romani residents have allegedly been involved. The police have already apprehended three suspected assailants in relation to those events, two of whom have been remanded into custody.
Despite that, the neo-Nazis are threatening to continue their marches if the police do not become more active. The football hooligans and neo-Nazis assembled on Saturday afternoon at the train station in Hradec Králové, from where they set out on their march through the town at about 16:30.
The demonstrators walked from the main train station through the pedestrian zone to the Adalbertinum cultural center, where the conflicts at issue had happened. The extremists were supervised the entire time by dozens of riot police.
During their hate march the extremists chanted slogans such as "Stop Black Racism", "Czechs Come With Us", and "We're The Ones At Home Here". In addition to other racist slogans, they also chanted the names of those victimized by the attack at issue.
The "National and Social Front"
According to the Czech Interior Ministry's report on extremism for the year 2019, the "National and Social Front" (Národní a sociální fronta - NSF) contributed to a significant degree toward reviving the neo-Nazi movement in the Czech Republic during that year. The group brings together in its ranks some of the experienced activists who have been active on the extremist scene for several years now. The NSF has also quickly established and solidified friendly relations with their counterparts abroad. In 2018, at an international neo-Nazi gathering held in Riesa, Germany, NSF representatives met with members of the "Russian Imperial Movement", which the US authorities have put on their list of terrorist organizations.
According to information from social media, one victim of the incident who was hospitalized with serious injuries is allegedly a football hooligan and a member of the Crime Boys group (Kluci zločinu). Those "fans" of football frequently engage in prearranged street fights with fans from other clubs.
On Saturday a member of the NSF gave a speech at the location of the conflicts about which the group was complaining. According to the Interior Ministry, the NSF is one of the most active neo-Nazi organizations in the Czech Republic in recent times.
"We are demanding proper punishment of these criminals, it's not possible that a gang of asocials can attack decent people with a sense of absolute impunity," the speaker said in his anti-Romani remarks, which one demonstrator interrupted with the racist shout of "Black motherfuckers!" The football "fans" set off fireworks once the speech was over.
The football hooligans and neo-Nazis then attempted to head to a location where one of the Romani people allegedly involved in the conflict lives. Riot police blocked their way.
The event ended at about 19:00 and those participating in the march dispersed to local restaurants. The extremists then praised the event to one another on social media.
In those remarks, the extremists said they liked the approach taken by journalists in their reporting on the event, whom they said "informed the public about the action in more than positive terms...". Social media posts by extremists also included statements such as "The event was a warning that if the situation does not improve we will meet up again in even greater numbers... Hradec is our town!"
Football hooligans and neo-Nazis have exploited several conflicts in Hradec Králové recently in order to gain visibility, but police have always solved the crimes quite quickly, identifying and apprehending those involved in the street fighting. Police spokesperson Iva Kormošová posted on 31 May to the police website that in this recent case "A 14-year-old and a 17-year-old boy from Hradec Králové were together with a 32-year-old man... at the intersection of V Kopečku and Československé Armády Streets when, after a mutual verbal dispute, they assaulted two men aged 51 and 44. Both men were hospitalized after sustaining multiple kicks and punches. The younger one has sustained grave, life-threatening injuries and his prognosis is uncertain."
"The oldest assailant is charged with felony attempted grievous bodily harm and with the crime of rioting, for which he faces a prison sentence of between three and 10 years. He was released on his own recognizance. However, after being charged with committing grievous bodily harm and rioting, a 17-year-old youth has been remanded into custody because he has repeatedly committed criminal activity of constantly increasing intensity and brutality. The youngest minor attacker, who cannot be charged with a felony because of his age and whose crimes would require a different kind of sentencing, has been charged with attempted grievous bodily harm, rioting and battery resulting in grave injury to health and has been placed in a diagnostic institute," the policewoman posted to the website.
The neo-Nazi march in Hradec Králové is one of just a few such events to be held in a long time during which extremists make use of the principle of collective blame in an effort to exploit individuals' crimes in order to spark hatred against the entire Romani commuity. The biggest wave of such anti-Romani events happened in 2011 in the Šluknov foothills, after which their public expression of anti-Romani sentiment was overtaken by the 2015 migration "crisis" and the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, on which the extremist-focused entities in the country are currently concentrating their agitation.
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