Czech Republic: Neo-Nazis attack singer, then chant anti-Roma slogans
The Czech Press Agency reports today that singer Tonya Graves of the band Monkey Business has confirmed that a group of racist promoters of the ultra-right extremist Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnost - DSSS) attacked her on Saturday evening after a rally in Vimperk. News server Vimperk.eu first reported yesterday on the incident in the U Stadionu restaurant.
"I encountered some people from the Workers' Social Justice Party at the restaurant. I was alone and it was unpleasant, they were not glad to see me there. They started shouting racist slogans at me, pulling me by the hair and spitting at me," the dark-skinned singer, who has been living in the Czech Republic since 1995, told the Czech Press Agency. Graves went on to say that even though two police officers were in the restaurant, they were apparently not on duty and did not assist her. Some of the other customers and a waiter came to her aid.
"The police who arrived on the scene when everything was over told me that they couldn't do anything about it because the people who had assaulted me were not locals," the singer says. The Czech Press Agency is still waiting to hear from the Vimperk Municipal Police as to whether that was the case.
Yesterday Vimperk.eu quoted Jiří Matzner, the press spokesperson for the South Bohemian Police, as saying the following: "We have no report of an attack at that restaurant. If something serious had occurred, the police who were on hand as part of the security measures taken in connection with the rally would have known about it."
The incident sparked by the racist DSSS promoters was confirmed today by Vimperk Municipal Police, who reported that state police responded when local promoters of the party called them. "The conflicts happened after the riot police had left town. The local party promoters started the incident, which took place at the Stadion restaurant. There was a physical assault which we and the Police of the Czech Republic addressed. We detained two people," Daniel Ziemba, chief constable of the Vimperk Municipal Police, told news server Deník.cz. "The same small group left the Stadion restaurant and headed into U Lázní street where the local Romani people live, chanting anti-Romani slogans on the way. Local residents reported them to us and we addressed the situation together with a Czech Police patrol, which resulted in another detention. Here I must mention that the Romani residents were completely calm and were not seeking any conflict with any of the alcohol-fortified locals not connected to the DSSS."
"Some locals did their best to protect me. There were two police officers in the next room who were off-duty, but they didn't help me. The police were called by a local and also by the guys from my band after I called them to tell them what was happening. The main people to help me were some older people sitting at the regulars' table and the waiter. Those who assaulted me then started to fight among themselves, they threw chairs at each other," said Graves, who is a native of Peekskill, New York. The police were called after the incident, but media has reported that the band did not want to file a report about it.
The incident is said to be the first time anything like this has happened to Graves in the Czech Republic. She went on to say that she is all right and that she considers the incident closed.
The 41-year-old Graves comes from a family of five children. While working as an assistant at the International School of Prague, she started singing with Luboš Andršt's Blues Band. She joined the band Monkey Business after they released their first album, "Why Be In When You Could Be Out", in the year 2000. In addition to performing music, she has also acted in the made-for-television film "Iguo-Igua" and in the full-length feature films "I Served the King of England" ("Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále"), "Satan Is Coming" ("Satan přichází") and "Close to Heaven" ("Blízko nebe").
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