Around 130 ultra right-wing extremists took part in a procession in Svitavy on Saturday to express support for one of their own serving a prison sentence for the racially-motivated murder of a Romany man. Dozens of police officers, including a riot unit, monitored the march. Skinheads and other right-wing radicals have held the event for several years now.
On Tuesday, the Czech Charter 77 Foundation awarded two young Czechs, Jakub Štěrbík and Stanislav Vodička, this year’s František Kriegel Award for outstanding personal courage. A year ago the two stood up to skinheads shouting hate slogans and giving the Hitler salute. For his efforts, Mr Štěrbík was stabbed in the neck; his friend Stanislav Vodička came to his aid and was also knifed.
Police are gearing up for a skinhead march in the town of Svitava, east of Prague on Saturday. Some 200 far-right activists are expected to march through the town centre to protest against a court ruling that sent one of their mates to 17 years in prison last year for a racially motivated murder. Vlastimil Pechanec was found guilty of stabbing to death a Romany man with whom he’d got into a verbal conflict. Pechanec had been sentenced for violence previously. In the late 90s he spent two years in jail for attacking a young Romany with a knife. In May of 2001 he spent 14 months behind bars for attacking two anarchists. A number of skinhead rallies have already been held in protest against the most recent verdict.
A fight between skinheads and anarchists that broke out unexpectedly on Prague’s Naměstí Republiky on Saturday afternoon left six people injured. The injured, aged between 18 and 38, suffered broken bones, bruises and concussion. One youth got both his wrists broken. Eyewitnesses said the groups appeared to have met by chance and a fight broke out after some verbal provocation. Police are investigating the incident.
For the second time this year, the city of Plzeň in West Bohemia is bracing itself for a march by neo-Nazi skinheads. As many as 400 skinheads will march down a route that takes them past Plzeň’s Great Synagogue, the second largest in Europe. Efforts to ban the march have exhausted all legal avenues; the authorities are now concentrating on keeping groups of skinheads and anti-Nazi protestors apart. And politicians are looking to how future marches can be avoided without curtailing the freedom of speech. Rob Cameron has more.
About 120 far-right radicals marched in Krnov, Silesia, on Saturday, in memory of two skinheads who died five years ago in a fire. The event, which saw the radicals march with lit torches, was organized by Národní odpor, or National Resistance, which the authorities consider a neo-Nazi umbrella group. A spokesperson for the Krnov police said on Saturday that no incidents took place during the march.
The Czech Republic’s freedom of speech and assembly laws have been tested to the full in recent months by a small but determined group of neo-Nazis. For the second time this year, the city of Plzeň in West Bohemia is bracing itself for a march by far-right radicals, and politicians are wondering whether it might not be time to prune the country’s legislation to prevent such marches from going ahead.
The mayor of Plzeň has banned a march by neo-Nazi skinheads planned for this Saturday. The ban was announced amid protests from the Jewish community and concerns it could end in violent clashes with anti-fascist demonstrators, as happened in Prague in November. It's now unclear whether far-right activists will attempt to ignore the ban and travel to Plzeň, with chatter on neo-Nazi websites suggesting they may gather in Prague instead.
A radical far-right group wants to march through Plzeň on Saturday to protest against alleged restrictions on freedom of speech in the Czech Republic. Two months after thousands of ordinary people took to the streets to block a similar march through Prague’s Jewish Quarter, the organizers of the Plzen march are calling on their supporters to turn up armed this time round.
Remember all the fuss a few weeks ago when a neo-Nazi group tried to march through the Jewish quarter on the anniversary of Kristallnacht? That march was prevented, but led to much discussion about the size and seriousness of the neo-Nazi threat in the Czech Republic. Now a leading Czech newspaper has claimed that neo-Nazis have managed to infiltrate the Czech Armed Forces, and has the evidence to prove it.