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Two gatherings against racism and neo-Nazism planned for Nový Bydžov

Nový Bydžov, 3.3.2011 16:03, (ROMEA)
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In response to a march announced for Saturday 12 March by the Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) in the town of Nový Bydžov, which neo-Nazis are planning to support, two other gatherings against neo-Nazism and racism have been scheduled there. The Nový Bydžov is not alone! Initiative (Iniciativa Nový Bydžov není sám!) is planning a peaceful, non-violent gathering in the town. This will complement a previously announced student gathering which the Mayor of Nový Bydžov speculates will be a gathering of left-wing extremists. According to the Nový Bydžov is not alone! declaration, those signed up to the Initiative will actively come out against racism, neo-Nazism, and crime. "We condemn all criminal acts, but we reject the principle of collective guilt being exploited as part of anti-Roma rhetoric," Initiative representatives told news server Romea.cz.

The town hall and police are planning security measures for the day in question. "For example, we do not want there to be any loose objects lying around on the streets that might be thrown, such as trash cans, construction materials, or cobblestones," Mayor Louda said. The mayor claims people in the town are concerned by the news of the meetings and many are afraid the town center will be transformed into a battlefield between extremist groups.

However, representatives of Nový Bydžov is not alone! have sharply protested the mayor's claims. "Mayor Louda is generalizing once again. Not everyone who will protest against the neo-Nazis on Saturday 12 March is a left-wing extremist. Our Initiative is organizing a peaceful gathering of all respectable people who do not like neo-Nazis marching through Czech towns. We are not left-wing extremists," Zdeněk Ryšavý, one of those who has signed the Initiative, told news server Romea.cz.

Ivana Ježková, spokesperson for the Hradec Králové Police, says they are planning adequate security measures. "Police officers are intensively monitoring extremist groups of various alignments and verifying all of the information related to these gatherings. Our aim is to prevent any sort of conflict situation and to ensure public order throughout the town," she said, adding that police are prepared to protect the security not only of those participating in the gatherings, but of all citizens.

The web pages of the National Resistance (Národní odpor - NO) organization are now featuring a video clip and instructions for activists planning on going to Nový Bydžov. These instructions read, for example: "On the day of the gathering, it can be presumed that police will shut down and control all access roads into the town. If possible, come to town the evening before or in the early hours of the morning. Travel in small, visually unobtrusive groups."

The Czechoslovak Anarchist Federation is also calling for a blockade of the neo-Nazi march through a declaration on its website. "We hereby call on all opponents of neo-Nazism to form a blockade of the meeting site of the neo-Nazi demonstration. We will meet on Masaryk Square in Nový Bydžov at 11:00 AM," the website reads.

When the DSSS announced its meeting for 12 March in Nový Bydžov, Mayor Louda asked the party to call it off, but the DSSS refused to do so. The situation came to a head in the town of 7 000 last November after several muggings and the rape of a young woman. A petition demanding the provision of security was signed by 3 257 people. Mayor Louda subsequently issued a declaration sharply criticizing all Roma people and announced a series of measures to be taken against problematic residents. The town has permitted a private security agency to operate on its territory and has increased the number of officers on patrol from four to six.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, ROMEA, ROMEA, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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