Czech Republic: Five charged for neo-Nazi assault on demonstration in favor of receiving refugees
Prague Police officers have launched the prosecutions of five men who rioted in February during an incident on Thunovská Street in Prague. Masked rioters assaulted a march by activists who were supporting migrants.
Those charged are between 18 and 28 years old and remain at large. Police spokesperson Jan Daněk posted the information to the official police website on 13 May.
Police suspect another 20 people of committing misdemeanors against civil coexistence, for which they face fines. Detectives say they know the identities of 25 people in the group of assailants, but assessed the behavior of only five of them as criminal.
"These persons committed rioting in a public place by assaulting the participants of that assembly or throwing various objects at them. By doing so, they grossly disrupted the course of a properly announced gathering," the police spokesperson posted online.
The other 20 people identified probably committed misdemeanors. "Through their active, rough behavior they attempted to spark a physical conflict with the participants of a properly announced demonstration," the police spokesperson explained.
The local authority can fine those people up to CZK 3 000 (EUR) for that behavior. During various demonstrations about migration during the first Saturday of February this year, 1 000 police officers had to intervene in the capital against 10 times as many demonstrators total.
Police officers were criticized over their intervention on Thunovská Street, over which Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) and Czech Justice Minister Robert Pelikán (ANO) had a difference of opinion. Chovanec believes the officers on the scene did everything they could when they separated the two groups and pushed the aggressors away.
Pelikán called the intervention a failure, as in his opinion the police did not fulfill their role because public order was not maintained. One particular video recording of the incident has been shared through online social networking sites with an accompanying text asserting that police "provoked" the clash on Thunovská Street.
Chovanec rejects that interpretation and says he believes pro-Russian websites whose aim is to discredit the Czech Police are behind that particular video. Below is different footage of the Thunovská Street incident posted to the website of iDNES.cz, one of the leading dailies in the Czech Republic.
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