Wednesday, June 15, 2011



Romani people to rally on same day as right-wing radicals in Přerov, Czech Republic

Přerov, 14.6.2011 12:07, (ROMEA)

When right-wing extremists march through Přerov at the end of this month, local Romani people will be holding their own rally as well. An agreement to hold the rally was reached at a meeting today with representatives of nonprofits. A new web page will be launched about the right-wing radicals' march where Romani people can find all the information they need about what is taking place in Přerov.

Local Romani residents are concerned about how the right-wing extremists' gathering might turn out. Many are not satisfied by police officers' promises concerning their safety. The event on Saturday 25 June is being held by the Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS). Two years ago a right-wing extremist demonstration turned into a street battle as the right-wing radicals attempted to break through police cordons.

"We offered the Romani people the alternative of not having to be shut up at home on that day and of being able to express their emotions in a safe way. They will gather in a place that does not intersect with the march route and can express their opinions there. I believe we are capable of creating a zone in which the emotions will not become too upset, which is also a security advantage," Martin Navrátil of the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion in Romani Localities said today.

The roughly 30 Romani people who attended today's meeting unanimously agreed with the proposal. "They'll march, we'll have a good time," a Romani man summarized.

Romani people at the meeting were open about their fear of the upcoming event. "How am I to explain to my nine-year-old girls that they can't go outside?" one local Romani father asked angrily. "Who can say when the next march will be, whether they're not going to do this every month?" his neighbor added.

Police officers at today's meeting promised to visit Romani localities in Přerov three times next week. "We will explain the legal side of the march to people in various locations. We will also inform them as to the optimum way to behave. Defiance is not good, that's a matter for the police," said Michaela Sedláčková of the Přerov Police.

Michael Kocáb, the former Czech Human Rights and Minorities Minister, also traveled to Přerov to support the local Romani community today. "It is important that you not allow yourselves to be provoked. They primarily want to provoke you. We cannot afford a fight - if you restrain yourselves, it can turn out well," Kocáb told the Romani people at the meeting.

Next week a new website,, will be launched about the Přerov march where people can access all the information related to it. "We wanted to launch the website next year, but we're going to do it now because of the march. All the information from the police and the town will be there, as well as advice and contacts to psychologists and social workers," Ivana Smětalová, director of the Kappa Help organization, told the Czech Press Agency today.

The right-wing radicals are planning to march through the local Romani neighborhood. Police will deploy mounted officers, police helicopters and riot units. Through its web page, the town hall has called on its citizens not to linger along the march route or in places where security measures will be taking place. The town is also calling on its residents not to let unknown persons into buildings and not to park their cars along the march route. Business owners should also secure their shops.

Two years ago in April the streets of Přerov were transformed into a battlefield when about 700 neo-Nazis attempted to break through police cordons when their event was officially over. Pieces of benching, firecrackers, paving stones and smoke bombs flew through the air near the bus station. Many smaller conflicts broke out in other places in Přerov where aggressive neo-Nazis attacked their opponents. A total of 31 people ended up in handcuffs and two youths were charged with rioting and vandalism. Some demonstrators, both neo-Nazis and their opponents, suffered injuries. The most serious case was that of a 21-year-old man who evidently lost a finger to a firecracker. Three patrolmen and six police officers received medical treatment as well.

The event, entitled "March against Racism", was announced by the then-chair of the Worker's Party cell in Olomouc, Jiří Švehlík. However, he claims the party later distanced itself from the event, which was then organized by the Autonomous Nationalists together with neo-Nazis from the National Resistance.

The DSSS is the successor to the Workers' Party, which was dissolved by the Czech Supreme Administrative Court last year. The court found the party's ideology, program and symbols included chauvinistic and xenophobic elements, a racist subtext, and was linked to national socialism, the ideology connected to Adolf Hitler.

voj, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert


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