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Neo-Nazi march in Přerov, Czech Republic tomorrow - Romea.cz will report live on-line

Přerov, 25.6.2011 1:40, (ROMEA)

Tomorrow, Saturday, 25 June, another neo-Nazi march through a Romani neighborhood will take place between 11:00 and 18:00 in the Czech town of Přerov. The march is being organized the Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) and the militant neo-Nazi National Resistance ( Národní odpor - NO) has supported it on their website. Protests against the neo-Nazis will take place in the form of cultural events held in the closed courtyard of a block of buildings in Husova street. News server Romea.cz will report live online (in Czech only) from the march on Saturday.

Less interest in Přerov

Two years ago, the neo-Nazis organized two events in Přerov, one of which turned into a battle between police officers and racists. Despite that previous event, the media are reporting less on the entire event upcoming than on the previous similar events. Přerov now faces the same problem the city of Brno and the towns of Krupka and Nový Bydžov did earlier this year, that of neo-Nazis wanting to march through a Romani neighborhood. Tomorrow's march will take place under the slogan "Against Gypsy Racism" ("proti cikánskému rasismu“), according to extreme-right websites.

Representatives of the Přerov town hall claim they are unable to prevent the march. "We have not found any reason to prevent this march within the framework of the law on assembly," said town hall spokesperson Bohuslav Přidal.

Horses, riot gear, helicopters

The town has called on its residents to take precautions in advance of the racists' arrival. State and municipal police are also preparing measures. Helicopters and mounted police will be deployed. "The police measures will be similar to two years ago. There will be a sufficient number of officers and foot patrols on the streets. Riot units will also be there. We will ask other regional police directorates to collaborate and help us out, particularly with the helicopters and mounted police," Michaela Sedláčková of the Olomouc Regional Police Directorate told Czech Television station ČT 24.

Safety first

Romani residents of Přerov will be holding their own meeting on the day of the march. They made the plan at a meeting with representatives of nonprofit and other organizations.

"We offered the Romani people the alternative of not having to be shut up at home on that day and of being able to express their emotions in a safe way. They will gather in a place that does not intersect with the march route and can express their opinions there. I believe we are capable of creating a zone in which the emotions will not become too upset, which is also a security advantage," said Martin Navrátil of the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion in Romani Localities.

The roughly 30 Romani people who attended that meeting unanimously agreed with the proposal. "They'll march, we'll have a good time," a Romani man summarized. Romani people at the meeting were open about their fear of the upcoming event. "How am I to explain to my nine-year-old girls that they can't go outside?" one local Romani father asked angrily. "Who can say when the next march will be, whether they're not going to do this every month?" his neighbor added.

Earlier this year, local Romani people and non-Romani people from various initiatives jointly participated in nonviolent blockades of the racist marches held in Brno, Krupka and Nový Bydžov. Now a new website has been launched at http://www..gipsy-kappa.cz/ where Romani people can find information about what is happening in Přerov in relation to tomorrow's events. The administrators of the website will report on the counter-actions being held, which they are calling a "Gathering to Support Civil Co-Existence and Understanding in Přerov" (Shromáždění na podporu občanského soužití a porozumění v Přerově). The gathering will take place in Husova street, in the courtyard between buildings 1605 and 1697. It will start at noon and last until 19:00.

Town and NGOs want empty streets

The neo-Nazis will march from náměstí Svobody (Freedom Square) along the following streets: Čechova, Havlíčkova, Komenského, Škodova, Husova, Kramářova, returning to the square down Čechova street. Both the town and the organizers of the Romani meeting evidently prefer that the streets will completely empty so the neo-Nazis can march through the Romani enclave without any problems. Information and instructions published on the town hall website include this call: "Do not park motor vehicles in the localities concerned during the given time... given the possibility of clashes, do not linger at the scene of ongoing security measures. Think primarily of your own safety !!!... follow the instructions of organizers and most of all of the Czech Police on the day of the gathering. This recommendation applies to streets adjacent to the march.“

"I consider the route to be unfortunate, I hope there won't be any problems," said Richard Kořínek of the People in Need organization. He said he was advising people not to linger in places where extremists are, not to cause unnecessary conflicts, and not to respond to provocations.

"Defiance of the neo-Nazis is a matter for the police"

Sedláčková said local and state police have already taken to the streets to advise local residents on how to behave tomorrow. "We are preparing to visit the socially excluded locality as well, to explain the police strategy to them and the measures the police will take on the day of the march. We want to prevent panic and the spread of unfounded rumors, as well as to calm the atmosphere in the town. We will also inform them as to the optimum way to behave. Defiance is not good, that's a matter for the police."

Two years ago in April the streets of Přerov were transformed into a battlefield when about 700 neo-Nazis attempted to break through police cordons when their event was officially over. Pieces of benching, firecrackers, paving stones and smoke bombs flew through the air near the bus station. Many smaller conflicts broke out in other places in Přerov where aggressive neo-Nazis attacked their opponents. A total of 31 people ended up in handcuffs and two youths were charged with rioting and vandalism. Some demonstrators, both neo-Nazis and their opponents, suffered injuries. The most serious case was that of a 21-year-old man who evidently lost a finger to a firecracker. Three patrolmen and six police officers received medical treatment as well.

The event, entitled "March against Racism", was announced by the then-chair of the Worker's Party cell in Olomouc, Jiří Švehlík. However, he claims the party later distanced itself from the event, which was then organized by the Autonomous Nationalists together with neo-Nazis from the National Resistance.

The DSSS is the successor to the Workers' Party, which was dissolved by the Czech Supreme Administrative Court last year. The court found the party's ideology, program and symbols included chauvinistic and xenophobic elements, a racist subtext, and was linked to national socialism, the ideology connected to Adolf Hitler.

František Kostlán, Gwendolyn Albert, František Kostlán, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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