Czech Police delayed arrest of Slovak speaker wearing a swastika in Krupka
Police have filed charges against a citizen of Slovakia who participated in a march by the Worker's Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) through the town of Krupka on Saturday 9 April. Police spokesperson Ilona Novotná said officers suspected the man of making racist statements during his speech. He was also wearing banned Nazi symbols, including a swastika, on his clothing.
According to information obtained by news server Romea.cz, police did not arrest the man, who is a member of the People's Party "Our Slovakia" (Lidová strana naše Slovensko - LSNS), a Nazi organization, until he was heading back to the train station. Police allowed him to shout racist abuse at members of the Roma minority without intervening. Despite these offenses committed during the DSSS rally, municipal representatives did not disperse it, even though they were aware the law was being violated by this particular speaker - and not only by him.
The speaker, who was not introduced to the demonstration by name, started his speech with these words: "Friends, I want to give you a Slovak greeting, which will not bother the cops here. Friends from Bohemia, to duty [Na stráž]!"
"To duty!" ["Na stráž!"] was the greeting used by the Hlinka Guard, a paramilitary organization of Hlinka's Slovak People's Party (Slovenská lidová strana - SLS), which during the regime of the WWII-era fascist Slovak state actively contributed to the persecution of anti-Nazi Slovak people, Czech people, Jewish people, and Roma people, including their transport to Nazi camps for annihilation.
The Slovak speaker then said, among other things: "We have come together here to say 'No' to the asocial Gypsy parasites harming decent working people, robbing them and raping old women... I therefore ask the Czech and Slovak governments to start addressing the asocial Gypsy parasites."
Other speakers also gave hateful, seditious speeches against the Roma minority that included obvious lies. Despite this, neither the municipality nor the police intervened. They let the speakers' violation of the law go unnoticed.
DSSS Executive Vice-Chair Jiří Štěpánek was one of those to commit the usual racist generalizations, saying: "We have met here to express the resistance of the healthy portion of nation, which does not want children to be attacked and raped just because they are Czechs… The social task of making the Gypsy ethnicity an exclusive group that stands above the law has been fulfilled… We will show these traitors to our nation that their political end has come…."
Speaker Jiří Petřivalský said: "I ask whether you agree with the state tolerating attacks on our children by an untouchable ethnicity?... Vote DSSS!"
Police suspect five other people of having committed misdemeanors in Krupka. Officers say one man committed a misdemeanor against civil coexistence, while the others are said to have disobeyed the orders of a public official. The police spokesperson has admitted that officers may decide to charge more people after evaluating video recordings of the demonstration.
Neo-Nazis and other promoters of the extreme right demonstrated on Saturday in the streets of Krupka, a town of 15 000 in the Teplice district. Their march was allegedly intended to draw attention to an incident that took place not quite one year ago there, in which two young Roma men brutally beat and raped a 12-year-old [non-Roma] boy.
The racists gathered at the train station in the Bohosudov neighborhood before marching into town. Police estimates put their numbers at roughly 150. At the entrance to the Maršov housing estate, a group of more than 100 Roma people, human rights activists, and chaplains leading prayers stood in the way of the extremist crowd and refused to obey police orders to disperse, blocking the road. After several dozen minutes of tense waiting, police units dispersed the counter-demonstrators, beating a 75-year-old chaplain from the Greek Catholic Church and a clergyman from the Czech Brethren.
Police spokesperson Ilona Novotná said 700 police officers took part in the operation and police estimate its cost at CZK 2 million. Officers know of five cases of injury, including two people who were burned by the explosive stun grenades police deployed. The other people suffered bruises and lacerations to their heads and other parts of their bodies.
Novotná said the police intervention will be investigated by the regional-level police monitoring department. The "We Don't Want Neo-Nazis in Ústí" Initiative (Iniciativa V Ústí neonacisty nechceme) is considering a lawsuit against the police. According to Initiative spokesperson Miroslav Brož, it is not possible for police in a democratic state to disperse a religious assembly (not subject to certain provisions of the law on assembly) or to force people praying together to disperse. He said lawyers are now working on filing suit.
The DSSS has announced a march through Krupka along that same route for every Saturday in April, but party chair Tomáš Vandas said the party is not preparing to convene a rally there this coming weekend. Saturday's event has apparently fulfilled its purpose.
If right-wing extremists were to head to Krupka again, the Initiative is prepared to attempt to block any future march. Brož said today that many chaplains from throughout the Czech Republic are contacting them and are prepared to hold religious services there.
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