Local Prague candidate seems to have given Nazi salute at demonstration, extremist party she is running for disavows her
Romana Frieselová, a woman identified as giving the Nazi salute on 18 August at a demonstration by right-wing extremists in the Czech town of Dubí, is apparently running as a candidate for the Workers Social Justice Party (DSSS) in the local elections in Prague. DSSS chair Tomáš Vandas, however, has claimed in an interview for the Free Radio (Svobodné rádio) station that the party has nothing to do with Frieselová and has even speculated that her candidacy might be a provocation aiming to damage the party.
The 18 August assembly of right-wing extremists was held in reaction to a scuffle at a swimming pool in Dubí, where a fight broke out between two women, allegedly because of a child's behavior in the wading pool. A young man joined the fight and suffered injuries as a consequence.
Czech Police have charged a 26-year-old woman from Teplice in connection with the swimming pool brawl and are investigating the circumstances of the incident, which has been described quite differently by the various parties involved. At the beginning of the 18 August assembly responding to the incident, neo-Nazis immediately assaulted Vít Hassan, a photographer for the tabloid news server Parlamentní listy (PL), and were arrested.
Video footage of a woman giving the Nazi salute at the 18 August demonstration was filmed by journalist Šárka Kabátová of the daily Lidové noviny (LN). The footage was published by a Facebook page called "Against Hate Speech" (Proti projevům nenávisti), which identified the woman as Frieselová.
"We have been reproached for calling the demonstrators in Dubí neo-Nazis. Romana Frieselová must just have had a tic in her arm," the administrator of the Facebook page commented on the footage.
That same name has now appeared on the candidate list of the DSSS for the Prague city assembly. Vandas, however, alleges that the party has nothing to do with the woman concerned.
"I consider this a normal provocation," Vandas said in his radio interview. "I can say with 100 % confidence that the person mentioned is not a member of the Workers Social Justice Party. We do not tolerate such behavior."
Vandas did say that he knows Frieselová. "I know she was once a member of National Democracy, but she decidedly is not a member of our party and never will be," he said.
The DSSS chair then developed his speculation, together with the moderator of the program, that Frieselová's behavior was a provocation either by those opposed to the DSSS or by the police. "If it were a controlled provocation, then they would let her be. If she were actually a DSSS member, then she would end up like the motorcyclists [i.e., arrested for her behavior like the people were who attacked the photographer]," speculated the moderator, to agreement from Vandas.
"I do not know that this person has been summoned [by the authorities] to given an explanation of her behavior somehow," Vandas said in the interview. Czech Police spokesperson Daniel Vítek, however, has said the incident of the Nazi salute is being investigated.
Speaking to news server Romea.cz on Monday, 20 August, the police spokesperson said: "I just delivered the video footage [of the Nazi salute] from your website to the detectives. They will assess whether illegal behavior has been committed or not."
Police officers arrested six neo-Nazis directly at the 18 August assembly. Two were arrested in association with the assault on the photojournalist, and four were suspected of committing the offence of displaying sympathy for a movement aiming to suppress human rights and freedoms.
Frieselová is apparently known in extremist circles and is said to regularly attend various hate gatherings. In November 2017, at a Prague demonstration by the DSSS, she allegedly shouted "Black Arab swine" at the same photojournalist (Hassan) who was subsequently attacked by neo-Nazis at the 18 August 2018 assembly.
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