Latest neo-Nazi concert tolerated by police

09-04-2001

The skinheads left Prague in groups and were taken to the venue by buses provided by the organisers. The venue was kept secret until the last moment, and the concert itself was organised as a private party. Performing on Saturday night were a number of bands, including Britain's Celtic Warrior and Slovakia's Juden Mord. The name translates as "Death to Jews" and the band's CD features the entrance gate of the Auschwitz concentration camp. But the police apparently decided this did not constitute a breach of Czech law. Extra police were on hand, but a spokeswoman said the concert passed off peacefully and there were no arrests.

Experts say the Czech Republic is becoming a favourite destination for foreign neo-Nazi groups, because the Czech police just stand by and let them sing what they want. Vaclav Trojan from the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly says he doesn't know why the police do not intervene in such cases. Mr Trojan told me that allowing a band called "Death to Jews" to play, and display Heil Hitler salutes, is undoubtedly a breach of Czech law. But what's worse, he says, is the fact that Czech society seems largely indifferent:

"Not only the offices, but the population, too, I'm afraid, is not sensitive enough. What I think would be more useful or more effective - if not only the official places, such as the police, but also people would protest against such things, the population, the normal people should show to those guys that this is not possible, this is not the behaviour that we can tolerate, that this is something what the society is not accepting."

The police, however, maintain that no one broke the law in Senohraby on Saturday night, and that's why the police did not have to intervene. The police spokeswoman added the participants had been monitored constantly until they had left the village. But Vaclav Trojan, and many others, are asking why a band called "Death to Jews" was allowed to play in the first place.

09-04-2001