Homelessness remains a complex and vexing problem in the Czech Republic, especially in Prague, despite notable gains and successes by NGOs as well as the city. A year ago, the Czech capital saw the opening of a new shelter on the Vltava River, adding 250 beds to already existing sites run by organisations such as Naděje and the Salvation Army. But with a homeless population of at least 2,000 (by conservative estimates - some social workers double the number) it’s clear more needs to be done. The question is "what".
Two Poles have been charged with propagating a movement repressing human rights and freedoms after being caught making the Nazi salute in the streets of Plzen. Only about three dozen neo-Nazis turned up in Plzen on Saturday after local authorities banned a planned march by far-right groups. Instead a gathering of some 300 right-wing extremists took place on Prague’s Palacký Square, the city’s version of speaker’s corner in London’s Hyde Park. Despite fears of possible clashes with anarchists the gathering ended without incident.
In Plzeň, where the neo-Nazis’ march was originally to take place, three individuals have been arrested for making the Hitler salute. All three detained are foreign nationals from Poland. Hundreds of police officers were drafted into the west Bohemian town earlier this morning to break up any demonstrations held there by right-wing radicals. Far-right groups were planning to march through Plzeň on the anniversary of the deportation of the town’s Jews to the concentration camp Terezín. Plzeň authorities had originally allowed the march to take place, but on Thursday, in the face of strong media pressure, the municipality outlawed the march.
A gathering of neo-Nazis on Prague’s Palacký Square on Saturday ended without incident. Around 250 far right extremists met on the square which functions as the city’s version of speaker’s corner in London’s Hyde Park, where demonstrators can meet without permission from the authorities. A police spokesperson said, however, that two skinheads were detained for carrying weapons. Extra officers were on duty in Prague today as extremist groups were expected to stage a rally in the city. The neo-Nazis had originally wanted to march through Plzeň, west Bohemia, but the municipality banned them from doing so.
Police in west Bohemia have suggested that a march banned by officials which neo-Nazis had planned to hold in the city of Plzeň on Saturday may be moved to Prague. Police representatives revealed on Friday that some 700 extremists – including radicals from abroad – may still try and meet in the capital’s Palacký square. The square is the city’s version of speaker’s corner in London’s Hyde Park, where demonstrators can meet without permission from the authorities. Police have reacted by saying the number of patrols on the street will be increased in Prague on Saturday, while in west Bohemia officials are also preparing extensive measures: as many as 1,000 officers will be at the ready to break up any demonstration by right-wing radicals.
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 march planned by neo-Nazis in Plzeň on Saturday has been banned by the town’s authorities. The march had been planned by neo-Nazis in protest against what they called the curtailment of freedom of speech. Far-right groups were unhappy with the decision of Prague authorities in November to ban a similar march through the town’s Jewish quarter on the anniversary of Kristallnacht – a Nazi pogrom. The neo-Nazis were planning to march through Plzeň on the anniversary of the transportation of the town’s Jews to the concentration camp Terezín. Plzeň authorities had originally allowed the march to take place, and hundreds of neo-Nazis were expected to turn up, but, on Thursday, in the face of strong media pressure, the municipality outlawed the march.
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.
The League against Anti-Semitism say the authorities in Plzeň were wrong to grant permission for a neo-Nazi demonstration due to take place next Saturday, the anniversary of the first transport of Jews from the west Bohemian city in 1942. League against Anti-Semitism spokeswoman Věra Tydlitátová said a bureaucratic oversight allowed permission for the procession to be given, despite the rejection of another application to march a week later. Jewish leaders have organised a service in front of the city’s Great Synagogue as a counter to the far-right march.
As of the beginning of this year, a new package of social reforms has come into effect here in the Czech Republic, introducing major changes related to child care. Until recently, mothers had been receiving parental allowance in regular instalments over a period of three years. Now, the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry has introduced a new system intended to give parents more flexibility in combining work and child-care, by giving them freedom of choice.
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