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July 16, 2018
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Organizers of yesterday's demonstration say politicians' allegations of "assault" by protesters in front of Prague hotel are a lie

17.12.2017 17:21
Several hundred people protested in Prague against a meeting of representatives of the ultra-right from around Europe on 16 December 2017. (PHOTO:  Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)
Several hundred people protested in Prague against a meeting of representatives of the ultra-right from around Europe on 16 December 2017. (PHOTO: Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)

Czech MP Tomio Okamura is continuing his deceptive verbal attacks against his political opponents, posting allegations to Facebook post that his own brother, Hayato Okamura, Czech MEP Jaromír Štětina (TOP09), and an unnamed activist supposedly associated with news server Romea.cz prevented the course of yesterday's Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) conference in Prague using violence and vulgarities. The demonstration organizers and the ROMEA organization have emphatically objected to these lies.

"My friend, the famous British MEP Jenice [sic] Atkinson ... was brutally, violently assaulted on her way to our political conference yesterday in front of the venue entrance by left-wing extremists, anarchists and neo-Fascists who attempted to prevent the democratic course of our conference. It is truly repulsive to attack a defenseless woman," Okamura posted to his Facebook profile.

"Among those extremists who vulgarly and violently prevented the course of our conference were, for example, Czech MEP Jaromír Štětina (TOP09), unfortunately my older brother Hayato (Christian Democrats - KDU-ČSL), an activist from news server Romea.cz, and a female representative of a pro-immigration nonprofit organization," the MP posted. Both the organizers of the protest action and the ROMEA organization are vigorously objecting to Tomio Okamura's lies.

"Nobody from the ROMEA organization assaulted MEP Atkinson or any other conference attendee. Okamura is a crude liar," said Zdeněk Ryšavý on behalf of the news server Romea.cz.

Ryšavý claims that, on the contrary, Romea.cz correspondent František Kostlán was harassed at the scene by Vít Hassan, a photographer for the tabloid Parlamentní listy. "Our colleague emphatically asked that photographer to stop bothering and pushing him," the Romea.cz editor said.

"In front of the TOP Hotel our correspondent told that photographer, very emphatically, that he should go take photos among his own people, i.e., inside the hotel," Ryšavý said. News server Romea.cz is publishing in full translation below a response by those who convened yesterday's demonstration, called "For a Common Europe without Fear and Hatred".

Okamura is lying! Organizers of yesterday's protest object to Tomio Okamura's allegations, he invited neo-Nazis to the congress himself!

On his Facebook profile, Tomio Okamura has published untrue information alleging that yesterday evening "British MEP Jenice [sic] Atkinson, was brutally, violently assaulted" by participants in the demonstration organized by civic initiatives in front of the TOP Hotel Praha. "My friend, the famous British MEP Jenice [sic] Atkinson (pictured in the center above), was brutally, violently assaulted on her way to our political conference yesterday in front of the venue entrance by left-wing extremists, anarchists and neo-Fascists who attempted to prevent the democratic course of our conference. It is truly repulsive to attack a defenseless woman. 'I had to ask the police to protect me from that Fascist filth,' the British MEP told journalists who were present," he posted.

Tabloid news server Parlamentní listy has republished that post. The organizers of yesterday's demonstrations object to such allegations.

"The police did not have to intervene against anybody, there were no misdemeanors committed, to say nothing of felonies. I am certain that the same will be confirmed to you by the Police of the Czech Republic themselves. I do not have any statements from them yet, but in any event when I left the hotel, after all of the congress attendees were already inside, a person from the Police who had overseen the event thanked me for the smooth course of the demonstration and for our cooperation,"said Jan Cemper, the organizer of yesterday's protest, who is also the Editor-in-Chief of news server Manipulátoři.cz and founder of the Against Hate Speech (Proti projevům nenávisti) initiative. 

"There was whistling, and chanting, sometimes some harsher words were used, but under no circumstances was there any physical assault, to say nothing of anything being 'brutal'," Cemper said. Footage broadcast by Internet television station DVTV directly from the area in front of the hotel does not document any assaults.

Tomio Okamura's post is all the more serious because he has alleged that elected representatives committed it. "Among those extremists who vulgarly and violently prevented the course of our conference were, for example, Czech MEP Jaromír Štětina (TOP09) [and] unfortunately my older brother Hayato (Christian Democrats - KDU- ČSL)," he posted.

Štětina, however, did not go anywhere near the TOP Hotel yesterday. "Yuck! Tomio Okamura is lying. I could not have assaulted anybody there. I did not participate in any demonstration near the TOP Hotel. I did attend the peaceful demonstration at the Roztyly metro station, some distance away, so I could not have prevented the conference from happening, neither vulgarly nor violently. Tomio Okamura has just made an untrue attack on the entire demonstration," the Czech MEP has written in a statement.

Okamura has also repeatedly labeled the demonstrators as "anarchists", "extremists" and "neo-Fascists". In actuality, however, the demonstration in front of the hotel was organized by civil society initiatives.

"On the contrary, the person who invited a neo-Nazi there is Tomio Okamura himself. Among those invited to the conference was Jiří Petřivalský, the chair of the Workers' Social Justice Party (DSSS) cell in Prague. It is exactly the DSSS that has been mentioned constantly in the Czech Interior Ministry's reports on extremism as an ultra-right party carrying on the activity of the Workers' Party, which was banned by the courts in 2010 thanks to its connections to neo-Nazis. Petřivalský brags about attending the congress on his own Facebook profile, as documented by the photographs he posted," Cemper said.

"Petřivalský used to attend neo-Nazi meetings wearing a Thor Steinar sweatshirt in the days when that brand sponsored the neo-Nazi scene," Cemper said. The Workers' Party was banned on 17 February 2010 by a decision of the Czech Supreme Administrative Court.

In its judgment, that court ruled that the party posed a security risk and a threat to democracy because it was ideologically connected to National Socialism and neo- Nazism and promoted violence. The DSSS has been the successor to the Workers' Party since it was dissolved in 2010.

"At the same time, it is facetious of Tomio to label the protesters 'neo-Fascists' when he must have met with his other guests meeting that description at the hotel - besides members of the Front National there was the chair of the Prague cell of the DSSS, Jiří Petřivalský, and other dedicated fans of 'White Europe'. As far as my participation is concerned, I was mainly in front of the hotel yesterday because I see how forces referencing the darkest part of Europe's past are organizing themselves and, as is their custom, are exploiting lies to achieve their aims. If they were to tell the truth about what they want, society would reject them vigorously," said Jan Vrobel, who addressed the demonstration yesterday.

According to organizers, the demonstration held directly in front of the hotel was attended by roughly 500 people. "I am satisfied with the demonstration, it fulfilled the aims I wanted met. I was surprised that even the international media, when reporting about the ENF congress, are dedicating approximately half of their pieces to the protests against it. For me, that is the most important thing. The leaders of the fascizoid scene assembled in Prague, and people abroad can read that Czechs were bothered enough by that to protest, and that means we have not suffered an international embarrassment. I thank all who contributed to this event," Cemper wrote.

VIDEO

ROMEA, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Extremism, Neo-Nazism, Racism, ROMEA



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