Neo-Nazis strike Romani activist in the head with cobblestone during Prague demonstration

Roughly 150 supporters of the right-wing extremist Workers‘ Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti – DSSS) and the Workers‘ Youth (Dělnická mládeže – DM) gathered on 1 May to demonstrate in Prague. The right-wing radicals threw cobblestones and glass or plastic bottles at counter-demonstrators objecting to their neo-Nazism who marched past just after 15:00 near Na můstku street. One of the cobblestones struck a Romani activist from the Hate is No Solution initiative, Jozef Miker. The aggressive neo-Nazis also injured three police officers. One neo-Nazi was arrested for assaulting an officer.

The ultra-right supporters gathered at 14:00 at the bottom of Wenceslas Square, where several people gave speeches. DSSS chair Tomáš Vandas opened the demonstration by criticizing Czech PM Petr Nečas (Civic Democrats – ODS) for preserving his existing cabinet through the support of the Public Affairs (VV) MPs who want to see Deputy Prime Minister Karolína Peake (VV) stay in office. Vandas said the PM would do better to call early elections. He then went on to give his usual remarks, attacking Romani people and also news server During its on-line reporting of the demonstration in real time, news server said the DSSS leader made the following deceptive claims: „Tomáš Vandas is criticizing police reform, wiretapping, and says he is bothered by government support for news server“

Representatives of Germany’s National Democratic Party (NPD) then gave speeches as well. According to Anti-fascist Action (Antifašistické akce), those who spoke are leading German neo-Nazis.

After 15:00, several hundred opponents of the neo-Nazis walked through the lower part of Wenceslas Square heading from naměstí Republiky to Shooter’s Island (Střelecký ostrov) in the Vltava river. The Czech Press Agency reported that there were more than 250 marchers, while police estimated their numbers were as high as 500.

Police vehicles and riot officers separated the neo-Nazis from the counter-protesters. Despite these precautions, however, the neo-Nazis did their best to break through the police cordon in order to reach the counter-demonstrators and officers had to push them back.

The neo-Nazis threw cobblestones at the counter-demonstrators as they passed by. One cobblestone struck an activist from the Hate is No Solution initiative, Jozef Miker, in the ear. He was transported to hospital, where he received three stitches.

„We were marching from náměstí Republiky back to Střelecký ostrov and at Na můstku street the Nazis attacked us. First they started throwing plastic bottles, then glass ones, and then stones. Suddenly I was struck by a stone on the ear and I didn‘t know what was going on anymore,“ Miker described the assault to news server

The neo-Nazis also injured three police officers. Two were given medical treatment at the scene and a third was transported to hospital. „Police have arrested at 22-year-old man over the skirmish on Na můstku street on suspicion of assaulting a public official and rioting,“ said Prague Police spokesperson Tomáš Hulan. The neo-Nazi who was arrested reportedly sprayed tear gas in an officer’s face. The Czech Press Agency also reported that a glass bottle struck a girl who was standing among the DSSS supporters on the head.

At approximately 16:00 the neo-Nazis set off on a march through the streets of Prague. From their meeting point at Na můstku street, they marched up Wencelas Square to Vinohradská street. Marchers carrying banners shouted various anti-Romani, nationalist and xenophobic slogans. The march arrived at Jiřího z Poděbrad Square, where Vandas dispersed it just before 17:00.

The DSSS traditionally convenes protests on 1 May. Last year supporters of the party met up in Brno. This year’s demonstration was officially entitled „For social security, against reforms“.

Date: 02.05.2012