Lifeguard gets state honors from Czech President for injuries sustained in brawl that sparked ultra-right anti-Romani demonstration
David Michaljak, who sustained injuries during last year's brawl at a public swimming pool in Dubí, Czech Republic, was given state honors yesterday by Czech President Miloš Zeman. He was one of 42 recipients.
Other nominees for the honor, which was awarded in the Vladislavský Hall in Prague yesterday, included entrepreneurs Rudolf Ovčaří and Vladimír Plašil, motorcycle racer Libor Podmol, and the actor and singer Josef Zíma. The brawl broke out at the swimming pool in Dubí between several women, allegedly because of interactions between their children in the wading pool in August 2018.
Michaljak stood up for one of the women and was injured during the subsequent mass scuffle. The incident sparked anti-Romani sentiment.
The Mayor of Dubí said at the time that a Romani family from Teplice was to blame for the incident and the local Romani community in Dubí distanced themselves from what had happened. Six of those involved in the brawl - one woman and five men - have already been charged and face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
The battle at the swimming pool later became a pretext for neo-Nazis to convene a demonstration in front of the local authority in Dubí that involved rioting. During that assembly, photojournalist Vít Hassan was assaulted.
Hassan's assailant was eventually given a suspended sentence. A female demonstrator was documented giving the Nazi salute during the demonstration as well.
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