Ultra-right marks Velvet Revolution by racially abusing Czech TV reporters, Arabs and Muslims
A group of 100 people attended an assembly convened by the right-wing extremist Workers Social Justice Party (DSSS) at the bottom of Prague's Wenceslas Square on the state holiday of 17 November. Those who organized the assembly ended up cancelling their planned march, but individual demonstrators proceeded to march anyway, two of whom were later arrested by police for failing to heed their instructions.
DSSS chair Tomáš Vandas gave a speech in which he said developments post-1989 have been a big disappointment. The assembly was attended by the chair of the Republican Party, Miroslav Sládek, who became infamous in the 1990s for stating that the biggest crime committed by Romani people is being born in the first place.
Another speaker at the DSSS event was an American neo-Nazi and racist, Matthew-John Heimbach. He is connected to the Ku-Klux-Klan and other White Power organizations in the USA.
Heimbach is also a member of the Traditionalist Workers Party (TWP) in the USA, a fascist organization. He is an active neo-Nazi, a Christian extremist, and his opinions are strongly racist.
During his studies at Towson University in Maryland, Heimbach established and led a racist group called the "White Student Union" (WSU). The group organized patrols of five to seven people to roam the campus, allegedly "combating" alleged "black crime", despite the fact that African-American students comprised just a small percentage of the student body and the campus was practically one of the safest places in the city.
Heimbach is not interested in facts, but in capitalizing on white people's fears about blacks and generalizing about them. One of his speeches featured a reference to "black parasites running barefoot in the bush".
Besides the Czech state flag, some of those attending the assembly carried flags of the DSSS and of the Slovak "People's Party Our Slovakia" (LSNS). That party was roundly defeated in recent elections there.
Reporter Richard Samko racially abused
During the assembly a minor conflict arose when aggressive neo-Nazis attempted to attack two counter-protesers who threw wadded-up paper at the DSSS supporters and shouted "We Don't Want Fascists in Prague!" at them. The neo-Nazis aimed their aggression at Czech Television reporter Richard Samko.
Apparently Samko's Romani origin was a "provocation" to the ultra-rightists. "They assaulted me and Jaroslav Suchý, who was standing nearby. They grabbed at my mobile phone and said I shouldn't 'provoke' them, that I should disappear, and they used crude curse words. Those saying such things were rather drunk," Samko told news server Romea.cz after the incident.
Another DSSS supporter reportedly attempted to calm the conflict and is said to have told Samko, very sincerely: "This is the Workers' Party, you see, they're all drunk and you are provoking them here." Samko told Romea.cz that he responded as follows: "I told him it was useless to attack me. I was there as a journalist, I did not say a word to anybody that they could be insulted by. Then he took the two guys who wanted to assault me to one side and calmed the entire situation."
Samko said his colleague Jaroslav Suchý, who is also Romani, was also subjected to abuse. "They did not attack any other journalists there," he told Romea.cz.
Racist slogans shouted during march
Those attending the DSSS event had planned to march and their route was planned to intersect with a left-wing march. Police focused great attention on preventing conflicts from arising between the two groups and deployed an anti-conflict team.
A small group of neo-Nazis at the assembly decided to march even after the official march was cancelled. They chanted hateful, racist slogans as they did so.
Chants of "Fuck Allah, burn down the mosques" and the obligatory "Bohemia for the Czechs" were heard from the marchers on the street. One woman shouted "You black Arab swine!" at a photographer.
Police did not intervene during those moments, which were arguably instances of breaking various laws. They did temporarily halt the marchers' progress more than once.
A Czech News Agency reporter said a smaller scuffle arose between the neo-Nazis and riot police on Senovážné náměstí. "We arrested two people. They are suspected of committing misdemeanors. They were taken to the police station for documentation," police spokesperson Tomáš Hulan told the Czech News Agency.
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