A third man has been charged with disorderly conduct following Saturday’s gay rights march in Brno. The march, which was the first of its kind in the Czech Republic, was disrupted when an unknown perpetrator threw tear gas at revelers. Two of those arrested have been charged with disturbance of the peace, having thrown eggs at gay rights campaigners, the third man is charged with propagating Nazism, having worn an SS belt. An estimated 150 far-right extremists turned out to protest against Saturday’s march. Police are still searching for the individual who threw the tear gas, injuring 20.
The first-ever gay parade in the Czech Republic took to the streets of Brno on Saturday, despite threats by neo-Nazi and other extremist groups. Even a heavy police presence at the march failed to prevent attacks by anti-gay protesters who shouted insults and even threw tear gas at marching gay rights activists.
Around 20 right-wing extremists attempted to disrupt a gay rights event at a Brno club on Saturday evening but were prevented from doing so by police. The move by extremists was a follow-up to events earlier in the day. In the afternoon some 500 gays and lesbians took part in a gay pride parade - the first of its kind in the Czech Republic. Around 200 police were on hand to prevent an estimated 150 extremists from causing violence. But chaos ensued shortly after the parade ended, when an unknown perpetrator threw a tear gas grenade into a local crowd. Police have not arrested anyone for the incident, but detained some 15 suspects for various misdemeanours. Two were charged with disorderly conduct.
Interior Minister Ivan Langer has suggested that the ultra-right National Party could be dissolved in the future if it breaches the law. He made the comments in a Czech TV broadcast on Sunday, saying the non-parliamentary extremist party knew how to manoeuvre on the edge of legislation and was careful not to go over the limits. The interior minister was reacting to attacks by 150 activists from the party and other far-right groups against gays in Brno on Saturday, in which some threw fire crackers at participants and an unknown perpetrator threw a tear gas grenade into a crowd. Preaching "law and order," National Party followers have adopted an aggressive stance against foreigners and Romanies. The opposition has criticised Mr Langer for not taking sufficient steps.
Around 500 gays and lesbians took part in a gay pride parade in the Czech Republic’s second largest city, Brno on Saturday. The Queer Parade, as it is known, is the first of its kind in the Czech Republic. The start of the event saw speeches by gay rights activist Jiří Hromada as well as by Džamila Stehlíková, the government minister for minorities and human rights. The parade itself was delayed by at least half an hour and was almost called off under the threat of clashes from dozens of right-wing extremists in the area. Around 200 police officers were out in force and detained three in minor incidents shortly ahead of the event.
Czech President Václav Klaus has protested against a bill which would allow foreigners to register their same-sex partnerships in the Czech Republic. He voiced his protest to the amendment by refusing to sign it, nor did he reject it. The bill, which was passed by the Czech Senate at the start of the month, will become law in spite of the president’s symbolic protest. In a statement, Václav Klaus attacked the bill which widens the scope for same-sex marriages, to which he was also opposed when they came into law back in 2006.
The Czech Republic is listed among the EU countries that don’t sufficiently fight against racism and xenophobia, it follows from the annual report by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights released on Tuesday. The report calls on the countries to apply efficient sanctions against discrimination on ethnic and racial grounds. It singles out the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Spain as countries with no permanent commission to deal with the cases of discrimination.
The National Guard, a paramilitary unit set up by the extremist National Party, will start patrolling outside an elementary school in Karlovy Vary on Tuesday, according to the National Party website. The far-right group say they will protect children who have allegedly been repeatedly attacked by a gang of Roma children. The school’s director said no talks were held with the National Guards, but refused to comment further due to a “tense situation” in the neighbourhood. Interior Minister Ivan Lager said the National Guard only sought publicity while a spokesperson for the local police said the police will not interfere as long as the patrols do not breach the law.
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