Wednesday afternoon saw roughly one hundred right-wing extremists protest in front of the Office of the Government, in reaction to a carefully-planned crackdown by police earlier in the day. Officers moved in in the early hours of Wednesday morning to arrest almost 30 individuals across the country suspected of ties to extremist and neo-Nazi groups.
The raids point to a growing police crackdown on right-wing extremists. Over the course of 2009 police have made arrests connected with the Czech Republic’s relatively strict anti-fascism laws on nine occasions. Only two incidents involving extremists resulted in arrests in 2008. Most recently police detained 14 individuals in connection with a brutal arson attack on a Roma family last spring, and 26 were arrested in separate incidents during early June. The charge of promoting a movement for the suppression of human rights and hate speech in the Czech Republic can carry up to eight years in prison.
Police carried out raids on right-wing radicals in three or more cities early Wednesday morning and may have arrested at least seven individuals. The Czech Police have provided little information on the raids, stating only that the operations were underway in Prague, České Budějovice and Hodonín and were the result of long-term investigations. A lawyer for some of the alleged arrestees claimed that up to 14 may have been detained in house searches stemming from concerts organised by extremist groups. In his opinion, the police are searching for links between fascist groups and the extreme right-wing Workers’ Party, which the government is requesting be banned by the Supreme Administrative Court.
Mum behind the wheel of a truck, while dad stays at home to look after the children. While this concept might seem completely normal to most kids, Czech children may still find the idea shocking, at least according to the European Contact Group, a non-profit organization that promotes equal opportunities for men and women. Within a broader effort to break that stereotype they have produced special work sheets to help teachers in kindergartens and primary schools address the issue.
This autumn, the Mezipatra Queer Film Festival will celebrate 10 years of showing gay and lesbian-themed films to the Czechs. The festival is held between October 23 and November 8 in Brno, Prague and several other cities around the country, under the motto “The Third World War of the Sexes”. In this edition of One on One, our guest is the festival’s director Aleš Rumpel who explains what the main focus of this year’s Mezipatra is.
Two Czech nationals were arrested in Havana, Cuba in June this year over “homosexual behaviour”, and are awaiting trial, Frekvence 1 radio reported on Wednesday. The Czech Foreign Ministry confirmed the report, although did not comment on the cause of the arrest. A spokesman for the ministry said both Czechs had regularly been in touch with the Czech embassy in the Cuban capital.
Czech police have decided to target the funding of extreme right-wing parties in order to weaken them and hasten their destruction, the daily Lidové noviny reported on Saturday, citing a top ministry of interior source. The paper says recent evidence suggests that the parties are well funded. It gives the example of the recruitment of high profile lawyers to protect their interests. Police swooped on a series of extremist leaders in the summer, many of them organisers of concerts used as recruiting grounds. The paper points out that worries that one of the highest profile parties, the Workers’ Party could get more than 1.5 percent in elections to the lower house next year. That would give it the right to 7.0 million crowns in state funding. The government has tabled a proposal to ban the party.
An advertising campaign in which mostly Roma manual workers have been wearing t-shirts with the slogan “I should have learned better” has created controversy. The campaign launched in cooperation with a building company has been used on the streets of Prague to promote an educational website. The advertising company that came up with the idea says that it is based on the traditional warning that if you do not work hard in school you will end up with a shovel in your hands. But some heads of schools have said that the campaign is on the borderline of good taste and perhaps goes beyond it. Czech Minister for Minorities and Human Rights Michael Kocáb described the campaign as disgraceful.
The extremist Czech Workers’ Party has complained that it did not receive details of a government proposal to disband it because the letter was held up with the post office and they were not even told about it. The government launched a second attempt to ban the party after its first attempt failed because it failed to muster a convincing case. The Ministry of Interior has described this as a priority. The Workers’ Party originally had until November 15 to comment on the government’s plans but party leader Tomáš Vandas said on Thursday that he wanted this extended by around two weeks. He said the main reason was the thickness of the 80-page proposal.
Police in the West Bohemian town of Most have charged four members of the far-right Workers’ Party on suspicion of violent crimes. Three were arrested in a case in which officers pursuing noise complaints after a Neo-Nazi march in August were ambushed by a group of six young people. The fourth is charged with riotous conduct after attacking to a cameraman from a civic society who was filming a Workers’ Party event in November of last year. If convicted the attackers face up to five years imprisonment.
Archaeologists unearth seven graves dating back to Great Moravian Empire
Czech Republic bracing for wind storm Sabine
Ron Perlman: Cinema is a much bigger art-form than superhero movies represent
Valentine’s Day 1945 - When the Americans bombed Prague
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery