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ROMEA: Human rights defenders backed the Roma, mayor and police backed the neo-Nazis in Nový Bydžov

Prague/Nový Bydžov, 14.3.2011 17:44, (ROMEA)

The ROMEA, o.s. civic association expresses its outrage at the activities of the Police of the Czech Republic and the municipal authorities of the town of Nový Bydžov during Saturday's action by the DSSS and the neo-Nazi groups National Resistance and the Autonomous Nationalists. We very much appreciate and thank everyone who protested in Nový Bydžov against neo-Nazism and racism.

ROMEA, o. s. demands the Czech Interior Minister's Inspectorate investigate the proportionality of the police intervention against the non-violent gathering on Na Šarlejích street in Nový Bydžov.

ROMEA, o. s. demands a thorough investigation of the subsequent neo-Nazi attack on three Roma people and primarily strongly demands that this attack be legally requalified as racially motivated.

ROMEA, o. s. demands the appropriate authorities investigate the failure of the Czech Police and the local municipality to take action against the violations of law committed during the gathering of the DSSS and neo-Nazi organizations in Nový Bydžov.

The aim of the event convened by the Nový Bydžov is not alone! Initiative was to protest neo-Nazism, racism, and the actions of the municipal authorities who have been exploiting the tactic of advocating the principle of collective guilt. The event also wanted to support local Roma and show them that many other people are standing with them.

ROMEA, o. s. appreciates that the Nový Bydžov is not alone! Initiative brought people from various parts of society, of various ethnicities, various religions and various ideologies to the streets of Nový Bydžov. Standing with approximately 70 local Roma people were representatives of Roma communities from the entire Czech Republic (from Havířov, Orlová, Prague and Northern Bohemia) and members of various organizations concerned with human rights, as well as political parties (the Green Party, the Czech Pirate Party) and many individuals. ROMEA o. s. protests the claims of the Nový Bydžov town hall and some media outlets that this was a gathering of anarchists or a left-wing gathering.

The protest was also attended by some former or currently serving politicians, officials, and Human Rights Commissioners, such as the chair of the Green Party, Ondřej Liška, Džamila Stehlíková, Michael Kocáb, Czeslaw Walek, Martin Šimáček of the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion, etc.

We express our great recognition of the local Roma people who, despite constant pressure from the town hall, managed to lift up their heads and stand up for their rights. We want to thank everyone who participated in the protest for their participation and for their strict adherence to the nonviolent character of the action as a whole. Special thanks to Ondřej Liška, who took initiative on the scene and tired to get the DSSS gathering dispersed.

ROMEA, o.s. believes the gathering of the DSSS and the neo-Nazi National Resistance and Autonomous Nationalist initiatives was unconstitutional. One of the main points in the court's ruling to dissolve the Workers' Party was the fact that it collaborated with these and other violent neo-Nazi initiatives. The ongoing collaboration of the DSSS with these groups is evidence these relationships still exist and was an obvious reason for the Mayor of Nový Bydžov to have ordered the dispersal of the gathering. Some individuals were wearing symbols of the banned Workers' Party, others were shouting racist slogans, and these were other reasons which should have unequivocally led to the DSSS gathering being dispersed at the scene.

According to the information available to us, there was no court expert or state attorney present at the scene whose advisory opinion could have been used to justify dispersing the DSSS action.

Mayor Pavel Louda's actions during this event were not those of an impartial representative of the municipality, but those of a backer of the DSSS and militant neo-Nazi initiatives.

When the people who were nonviolently blocking the path of the neo-Nazi march were dispersed, the police used what in our view were disproportionate means and many of the demonstrators are reporting police brutality.

The counter-protesters proceeded completely nonviolently and with restraint. Their blocking of the path of the neo-Nazi march was the commission of a mere misdemeanor. In order to get them out of the way, the use of ordinary means of force by police would have been completely adequate. Dispersing the crowd by charging horses at them and the use of stun grenades and collapsible truncheons was unnecessary. We consider this approach by the commander of the intervention to have been intentionally selected to terrorize as many demonstrators as possible.

The commander of the police intervention committed other actions that are less difficult to understand. First he advised Ondřej Liška and the other people known to the media to file an official motion to disperse the DSSS action at the local police department. He waited until Liška and company (together with several journalists) had left and then gave the order to disperse the blockade.

ROMEA, o. s. believe the police also failed after the DSSS action had officially ended. Even though the police spokesperson assured the public that police were ensuring the security of all residents of Nový Bydžov even after the DSSS gathering, neo-Nazis attacked three Roma people. These violent men have only been charged with "rioting".

On behalf of the ROMEA civic association

Jarmila Balážová

Zdeněk Ryšavý

František Kostlán

Radka Steklá

František Bikár

Jitka Votavová

Milan Kováč

Gwendolyn Albert, tisková zpráva, ROMEA, Press release of ROMEA, o.s., translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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