Injury count rises to 10 in České Budějovice, mayor says his hands were tied
After 20:00 CET on 29 June, neo-Nazi demonstrators on the streets of the Máj housing estate in České Budějovice (see http://www.romea.cz/cz/zpravodajstvi/domaci/na-ceskobudejovickem-sidlisti-maj-se-shromazdilo-zhruba-200-prevazne-romu) continued rioting on Václav Volf Street, where they did their best to provoke conflict with local Romani residents. Police began pushing the provocateurs out of the area shortly after 21:00.
The Máj housing estate was finally calm after 22:00, with the exception of some petty verbal exchanges. Police remain at the scene. News server Romea.cz has been informed that 10 people were injured in today's violence, three of them police officers.
Mayor Juraj Thoma said he could not have prevented the initial protest gathering on the town square, as local government is unable to ban such events. "The organizers are only required to announce their event, and they did so," he told the Czech News Agency.
The mayor said he was surprised the assembly turned into a march and then into clashes with police officers. In his view, the situation at the Máj housing estate is not as dramatic as has been alleged.
"From time to time a problem bubbles up there, but Máj is definitely not like Chanov or the other troubled housing estates in the country. We all know a large group of our Romani fellow-citizens live there who have a completely different rhythm to their lives and behave differently than the majority population does, which naturally creates dilemmas and tensions, but there is no ongoing brutal conflict there," Thoma said.
Police spokesperson Lenka Holická said the situation at the Máj housing estate and its surroundings continues to be monitored by several hundred state police officers, municipal police patrols, and the police anti-conflict team. News server Deník.cz quotes her as confirming that the organizers of the cultural and social event "Čikhatar Het/Z bahna ven II" ("Out of the Mud II"), which started at the Máj housing estate around noon, fulfilled all the legal conditions necessary to be held there.
"Those attending the protest that was convened on Přemysl Otakar II Square, of whom there were several hundred, set off on an unannounced, unauthorized march toward the Máj housing estate about half an hour into the protest. Despite repeated warnings by police officers, they took to the streets and headed for the housing estate with the intention of disrupting the event being held there," Deník.cz quotes Holická as saying.
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