Fourteen hundred police officers will be deployed around Prague's Jewish Quarter on Saturday to prevent an unauthorised demonstration planned by far-right extremists. The neo-Nazi group lost a legal battle to hold a march through the Jewish Quarter on November 10, the anniversary of the 1938 Kristallnacht Nazi pogrom. The Jewish Liberal Union have organised a counter-event, while other anti-fascist demonstrators are also expected to turn out. In a statement, Prague Mayor Pavel Bem said the city's authorities had to prepare for the worst possible scenario, including the possible participation of foreign far-right activists.
Saturday is the Sabbath, the day of rest for the Jewish people, but this Saturday looks like being anything but quiet, as dozens, possibly hundreds of far-right extremists from the Czech Republic and abroad are due to descend on Prague's Josefov quarter. They're threatening to march through the former ghetto on the 69th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom against Germany's Jews, running the gauntlet of City Hall bans and a strong police presence.
Quasi-military organisations called the National Guards were established by the far-right National Party on the 28th October, the anniversary of independent Czechoslovakia. The move did not receive much attention in the Czech Republic at first, although Slovakia's President Ivan Gasparovic was quick to warn the Czech authorities of the danger of indifference. Meanwhile, top Czech politicians have condemned the idea of National Guards.
The Supreme Administrative Court on Monday rejected Prague City Hall's complaint against the verdict of the Prague City Court which abrogated the City Hall's ban on a march by right-wing extremists through the Jewish quarter on November 10th. The Supreme Administrative Court agreed with the Prague City Court in that the City Hall had made procedural mistakes in justifying the ban. However it appears that the march will not take place anyway since the City Hall invalidated the request on other grounds. The planned march scheduled for the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the 1938 pogrom on Jews, sparked a wave of protests both in the Czech Republic and abroad. The City Hall has said it is determined to prevent it taking place.
Police broke up a rock concert attended by around 120 skinheads in a hotel in Nove Hamry, west Bohemia on Saturday night. Over 100 officers intervened when one of the participating bands performed a song with anti-Semitic lyrics; it was a cover version of a song written by a now-banned Slovak far-right group. Two policemen were injured in clashes with the skinheads and six arrests were made.
The Prague Municipal Court has upheld a ban by Prague City Hall on a planned march by right-wing extremists through the Prague Castle complex. The court did so by rejecting a complaint put forward by right-wing activists. The decision was taken on formal grounds: a missing signature and stamp in the complaint. The extremists originally hoped to march through the city's historic quarter on November 10th - the anniversary of the Nazi pogrom known as Kristallnacht against Jews in Germany in 1938, but reported eight possible alternative routes for their march earlier this week. All have been blocked by City Hall. The organisers have claimed their march was to protest against the Czech military presence in Iraq. Jewish organisations have protested, saying the march was a provocation and an insult.
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A group of neo-Nazi extremists who have been barred from holding a march through Prague's Jewish Quarter say they will break the law and go ahead with it anyway, if they do not receive permission to march on an alternative route. The far-right Young National Democrats lost a legal battle to march through the Jewish Quarter on November 10, the anniversary of the Kristallnacht Nazi pogrom of 1938. In a statement on their website, the group said the Prague Town Hall had this week refused to grant them permission to march on eight other routes.
Prague City Hall says it is determined to prevent a march by right-wing extremists through Prague's Jewish quarter on November 10th, the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi pogrom on Jews in 1938. In the past 24 hours right-wing extremists have announced eight marches along eight different routes and the city hall has banned them all. The planned march, the pretext of which is opposition to Czech involvement in the occupation of Iraq, has raised a great deal of criticism from leading politicians, Jewish organizations and members of the public.
A group of far-right activists insists on marching through Prague's Jewish Quarter on November 10, the anniversary of the anti-Jewish Nazi pogrom of 1938, known as Kristallnacht. The pretext for the march is a protest against Czech involvement in the occupation of Iraq. Prague City Hall had previously tried to ban the march but a court ruled that the ban was poorly justified. Last week, the local authorities said that the announcement of the march was not valid due to formal errors and the planned venue for the march was immediately booked by a Prague Jewish community for commemorative gathering.
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