Unannounced neo-Nazi demonstration ends in attacks, 48 arrested
Neo-Nazis who attempted to disrupt the celebrations of the 17 November anniversary in the center of Prague by holding two unannounced demonstrations yesterday afternoon did not succeed. About 300 right-wing extremists had their plans spoiled by police, who kept them away from the reenactment of the march held 20 years ago between Albertov and Národní třída. The neo-Nazis did succeed in attacking three random people; they also threw stones and glass bottles at the police and kicked their vehicles. There were 48 arrests. Romea.cz followed the events on-line.
18:50 Romea.cz has closed its online reporting.
18:40 Police have updated their information on those arrested in connection with today’s neo-Nazi actions: A total of 48 people have been arrested, of which 32 are suspected by police of having committed the felonies of attacking a public official and/or vandalism. The other 16 people are suspected of misdemeanors, most of not obeying the orders of a public official. Andrea Zoulová, Prague Police spokesperson, confirmed the information to ČTK
18:00 Down on the riverbank the situation remains unchanged. The neo-Nazis are verbally provoking the police officers present. People on the street are also shouting curses at the neo-Nazis; it’s hard to tell whether they are left-wing radicals or not. Police are reportedly ready to permit the neo-Nazis to leave for a nearby pub, but only on the condition that they accompany the 50-strong group there.
17:28 Police are preventing about 15 neo-Nazis from joining the parade marching toward Palackého náměstí.
17:20 After the police intervention, the situation on the embankment has calmed down. Groups of neo-Nazis are standing around near the park and police officers are preventing them from walking down and joining the neo-Nazis on the riverbank. Some neo-Nazis headed in the direction of the parade coming from Albertov; our correspondent says about 10 of them even joined the parade. The situation is being monitored by riot police, who are flanking and following the parade as it heads for Národní třída. Individual members of the Workers’ Party are moving freely near the parade for the time being. Aktualne.cz reports that about 15 police vans have arrived at the Výtoň tram stop, where they will take those arrested away to police stations.
17:00 The neo-Nazis remain divided into two groups. One is on the riverbank, where the police are doing their best to push them back under the railway bridge. One member of National Resistance has collapsed and an ambulance is coming to his aid. The second group is in the road or on the sidewalk above them near the Výtoň tram stop, kicking the police vehicles and rioting. Police are surrounding them and doing their best to move them into the nearby park. Firecrackers can be heard.
16:53 A small group of about 30 masked hard-core neo-Nazis are now starting to move around further down the riverbank. In the meantime, a large cluster of 50 neo-Nazis have arrived at the site from the direction of Palackého náměstí and are standing up on the embankment chanting “Police state!”, “Communists, let them go!” etc. The crowd that has been stopped on the riverbank is now rioting down below them and calling to them to come down and help them fight the police. Some are trying to break through the cordon chanting the slogans “Freedom!” and “Resistance!” After a few moments there were clashes with police, who are throwing firecrackers into the crowd.
16:33 About 50 neo-Nazis are leaving the boat and walking towards about 100 others waiting for them at Palackého náměstí, but police are preventing them from reaching one another. Police are permitting the group from the boat to move along the riverbank only in the direction of the railway bridge. Many of them are extremely drunk and are shouting the slogan “Radically, nationally, socially.” Police then stopped them near the railway bridge and announced that their march must be diverted due to the ongoing parade coming from Albertov. Once the parade has progressed toward the center, they will permit the neo-Nazis to proceed.
16:27 Aktualne.cz reports that the parade from Albertov through Vyšehrad to Národní třída, which is reenacting the route students took 20 years ago, is more than 10 000 strong. It is not possible to guess whether the neo-Nazis plan on disrupting it on its way to the center.
16:13 The situation in front of the National Theater remains calm, and the planned gathering is not happening. Instead, about 60 neo-Nazis from the Workers’ Party and National Resistance have headed toward Palackého náměstí, where they are set to meet the others arriving by boat. Police officers are following the neo-Nazi crowd as they march to the river.
15:55 Five minutes before the start of the announced neo-Nazi protest, around 80 of them can be seen at various spots around the National Theater. About 20 uniformed police officers are monitoring them near the Academy of Sciences and the New Stage of the National Theater. For the time being the situation does not seem tense.
15:45 A small group of seven Autonomous Nationalists from Rokycany, led by Workers’ Party member Lucie Šlégrová, is now marching from the Charles Bridge to the National Theater along the embankment. In the crowd in front of the National Theater can be seen Workers’ Party member Jiří Šlégr and Autonomous Nationalists’ member Jiří Bunda. Police are starting to ask those assembled for their id cards.
15:40 A neo-Nazi mob is gathering unobtrusively at the National Theater; our correspondents say some of those whom the police prevented from entering Národní třída less than an hour ago are now heading to the theater. Other events are simultaneously taking place here to commemorate the 17 November anniversary.
15:30 While the city police are returning to Národní třída and the riot police are heading for their vehicles, a group of neo-Nazis is moving freely around the Old Town. Reports are coming from Husova street and Pařížská street, while about 70 of them are forming a mob in front of the Old Town Hall. Our correspondent says one of the neo-Nazis has confirmed that a group of 40 -50 others will be joining them from the direction of Palackého náměstí. While the neo-Naizs are moving around the center, police have opened public access to the place where the Workers’ Party started their gathering at 14:00. About 50 adherents of the Workers’ Party and National Resistance are gathered at the National Theater.
15:05 Our correspondents report the neo-Nazis have assaulted three people, including a photographer and a journalist whose face has been slashed by the neo-Nazis beneath his eye. An ambulance has arrived to help those injured. A young man was also thrown to the ground and kicked earlier. Police are herding the neo-Nazi crowd toward the Lávka dance club. Only accredited journalists are permitted onto Národní třída right now, and passers-by are being recommended to cross behind the National Theater.
15:00 Once the neo-Nazis made it to the end of the bridge, they turned around and headed back in small groups toward the National Theater and Národní třída. Our correspondent says one such neo-Nazi group attacked a young man who was photographing them. Idnes.cz reports that police have arrested more than 10 neo-Nazis. The crowd made it back to the other end of the bridge where a cordon of riot police and uniformed police officers prevented them entering Národní třída. The neo-Nazis, estimated at 150 strong, are now doing their best to get around the police barricades.
14:45 Vandas has communicated the town hall’s message to his supporters. He also announced his intention to cross the Legionnaires’ Bridge to the Lesser Quarter, inviting those listening to continue the march by saying: “Whoever wants can accompany me”. The neo-Nazis set off at a face pace across the bridge. Passers-by and people watching the situation from the windows of buildings on Národní třída are yelling “You fucking fascists!” at them. Riot police with dogs are following the marching crowd, while Vandas’s opponents from Antifa are remaining behind on Národní třída. Police in vehicles are monitoring the situation on the other side of the river near Újezd, which is the neo- Nazis’ probable goal.
14:35 People from the Prague town hall have announced to Tomáš Vandas that the Workers’ Party event is now officially declared over. The city’s official justification is the fact that a different event has been scheduled for the same place, which is now being blocked by the Workers’ Party protest. According to our correspondents at the scene, the riot police are now agreeing on a plan for pushing the neo-Nazis away from various sites between the National Theater and Národní třída.
14:25 About 100 neo-Nazis have convened on Palackého náměstí. They have boarded a chartered boat and sailed toward the others in the direction of the Prague Zoo.
14:25 The Prague town hall has decided to disperse the Workers’ Party gathering.
14:15 According to our correspondents, about 100 opponents of the neo-Nazis are trying to disrupt them. One anti-fascist yelled “Shame on you!” at the Workers’ Party followers and party chair Tomáš Vandas; he was then physically and verbally attacked by several neo-Nazis. Antifa supporters have gathered at the place where Národní třída meets the bridge across the Vltava and are protesting using horns and sirens. About 70 riot police distributed in several rows are overseeing the event, which is also being monitored by a police helicopter from the air. The situation is becoming unpredictable and the tension between the two sides is rising.
14:05 Speeches by the Workers’ Party have now started in front of the National Theater, where ČTK reports about 300 neo-Nazis are standing around. About 40 supporters of the Antifa movement carrying banners reading “17 November does not belong to the Nazis”, and “Everywhere and always against racism” are marching towards them shouting “No, no to fascism!” in unison. They are also holding up their hands in the “V” sign of peace.
13:55 Between 100-150 Workers’ Party supporters are at Národní třída, where an unannounced demonstration has been convened for 14:00. Our correspondents on the site say it is being monitored by about 20 uniformed police officers. Workers’ Party sympathizers are carrying copies of the party newspaper, carnations, and the obligatory flags of the party and the Czech Republic.
13:45 At 13:30 the neo-Nazis supporting the “Resist!” initiative were scheduled to gather on Palackého náměstí, but the square is empty for the time being. Organizers said they want to protest the “mafia-style, totalitarian practices of the current regime” and have chosen to hold their protest on a boat; the event is being called the “Boat Ride of Freedom”.
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