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Man suspected of previous racist outburst arrested at gathering of the extremist Workers' Party

Litvinov, 18.3.2009 10:40, (ROMEA)

At a gathering of supporters and representatives of the extreme-right Workers' Party (Dělnická strana - DS) in the Zámecký Park in Litvínov today, a man suspected of having made racist statements against the Roma was detained. He and a woman are suspected of having shouted racist insults across a police cordon at a group of peacefully demonstrating Roma on 17 November 2008. When the police began to move away in order to intervene against the neo-Nazis, the man called the Roma "Black swine." The server Romea.cz videotaped the racist behavior.

"We were monitoring the Workers' Party gathering, and I saw the man from the video there," Radek Grundza, a town council member from Obrnice, told the server Romea.cz . "I called the police and they took the suspect away for questioning."

Today about 60 representatives and followers of the Workers' Party, which according to police has been infiltrated by neo-Nazis, met in Zámecký Park. Accompanied by several police vans, party followers left the gathering for the Janov housing estate in order to "monitor" how the situation there has developed since their last visit at the end of January.

Jiří Homonai, head of the police division in Most, told ČTK that police arrested two people in connection with the event. The second arrest was allegedly due to illegal posting of notices prior to the gathering.

The Workers' Party decided to demonstrate its disagreement with the town leadership's approach to handling the situation in Janov by appointing a "shadow" mayor. At the end of February, the DS named 31-year-old Vladan Reňák, a junior high school teacher of languages from Most, as the so-called counter-mayor. According to Litvínov Mayor Milan Šťovíček (ODS), the DS is capitalizing on the problems at the housing estate, which the town hall has been addressing for quite some time.

Reňák is not a Workers' Party member. He is said to have agreed to become "counter-mayor" because he wants to improve the image of Litvínov in the eyes of the public. He believes that without the DS activities, nothing would have ever changed there. He has also stated that the city is "sick", and that its "treatment" would take a long time and should be "radical and effective".

At the meeting, the party leadership also reminded those assembled that it has founded the civic association Dělnická mládež (Workers' Youth) which people from ages 15 -35 can join. The association was allegedly founded due to the large amount of response to the party's events. According to its website, the group endorses National Socialism and rejects both capitalism and communism. About 20 police officers were on guard at the park gathering.

Roughly 30 followers of the Workers' Party then left for Janov, accompanied by about 15 police officers and several police cars. They were said to want to take a look at how the situation there had developed since their last visit at the end of January. Their tour of the housing estate today was peaceful, and they left Janov at 17:00.

According to the server Deník.cz, the march was manipulated by the Nova television station. "The nationalists from the Workers' Party, who want to introduce radical laws in the Czech Republic and are seeking anti-Roma voters, are becoming celebrities, like Hollywood stars. They are allowing themselves to be drawn into manipulation by the media. The public is not supposed to know," wrote the server Deník.cz.

According to the server, TV Nova influenced the course of the demonstration when the television staff made agreements with the extremists. Nova wanted to film the event live for the afternoon television news. The radicals were to march around the problematic casino "Calypso" live on television at exactly 17:00, the time that the live broadcast from the "neo-Nazi excursion" to Janov was supposed to begin for the afternoon television news. "They would have walked by there anyway," the Prague director of Nova told Deník. Some of the nationalists ended up outside of the shot and began laughing. Other journalists present were not pleased about the "show" and shook their heads in disbelief, reported the server Deník.cz.

Deník.cz reports that Workers' Party Vice-Chair Petr Kotáb insulted the inhabitants of the Janov housing estate and Czech Human Rights and Minorities Minister Michael Kocáb. "We have simply come on a trip to the zoo, but one attraction is missing here, Minister Kocáb," Kotáb responded to Deník when asked whether he had intentionally slowed down the pace of the crowd for the television broadcast.

The gathering at the park had been announced by the Workers' Party a year prior. According to Alexandra Sixtová, secretary at the Litvínov town hall, events in that locality do not have to be re-announced prior to occurring. The adjoining streets, including the access road to the Janov housing estate and its streets, had already been reserved by other organizations and associations.

After one of last year's actions by the party in Litvínov, participants marched to Janov. The result was harsh clashes between hundreds of right-wing radicals and police officers, with several injuries on either side.

In the past, socially weak inhabitants from various parts of the country have moved into the housing estate, where as many as 6 000 people live. Many unemployed people who have problems with debts live there. Long-term residents of the housing estate are also suffering, as their flats are unsellable.

Last year the government proposed that the Supreme Administrative Court (Nejvyšší správní soud - NSS) dissolve the Workers' Party, claiming it has violated laws and is close to extreme right-wing groups, particularly the neo-Nazi National Resistance (Národní odpor). However, at the start of March the court rejected the proposal, stating it had not included sufficiently convincing evidence. According to the conclusions of the NSS, the connections between the party and National Resisitance were not demonstrated, nor was the claim that the party was trying to violently change the political system.

ROMEA, ROMEA, CTK
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Czech republic, Extremism, DS



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