Neo-Nazis want to disrupt 17 November commemorations in Prague
The web server Týden.cz reports that neo-Nazis intend to disrupt all of the commemorative events scheduled to take place in Prague on 17 November, the 20th anniversary of the fall of communism. The disruptions are intended as a response to a recent raid in which police arrested 24 right-wing radicals, 18 of whom have been charged with supporting and promoting a movement aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms. Some of those charged are suspected by police of preparing terrorist attacks on electrical power stations or other enterprises. Police say they are monitoring the upcoming neo-Nazi activity and will take appropriate measures.
"We are planning to completely take over the celebrations to draw attention to the political prisoners and this criminal regime,” Týden.cz quotes Filip Vávra, the spiritual father of the banned neo-Nazi organization National Resistance, as saying. However, Vávra refused to give further details on who would participate in the protests, saying only that “freedom has never been as much at risk during the past 20 years as it is right now. People are angry."
Týden.cz reports that the Workers’ Party (Dělnická strana - DS), which the court is currently considering abolishing, has also indicated it will participate in the neo-Nazi events on 17 November. Their promoters were the ones who unleashed a street battle with police on that same day last year in Litvínov when they tried to march on the mostly Roma-inhabited Janov housing estate. Police protected residents only by resorting to the use of riot equipment, officers on horseback, teargas and stun grenades.
"We are paying attention to the situation and taking the appropriate measures. I cannot comment further," David Janda, head of the Prague Police Anti-Extremism Division responded to Týden.cz when asked about the upcoming events.
The news server writes that the neo-Nazis are secretly convening a gathering of all extremist organizations for 17 November which will come to a head on Národní třída, the street where the communist-era police brutally dispersed a peaceful student demonstration on 17 November 1989. That intervention prompted protests nationwide which resulted in the fall of the communist regime.
DS chair Tomáš Vandas told Týden.cz last Monday that the party will not join the protests because it is planning its own event. However, last Wednesday Vandas was reported by Lidové noviny has having indicated the party would participate in the disruption. In a speech given on the anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia, he said the following: “We will see each other again on 17 November on Národní třída. Just let them send out the riot police on the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. At least this regime will show its true face.”
Týden.cz also reported that the extremists have classified as “secret” their intentions to participate in disrupting the celebrations. This might explain why there is no mention of such a protest on any of the ultra-right websites.
Extremism expert Ondřej Cakl is not surprised by the neo-Nazi activity. "I expected this, but I do not know how many of them will turn up. They are currently experiencing a big decline in membership, maybe this event will mobilize them,” Cakl told Týden.cz.
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